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Local athlete returns from USA Games

Oney brings home two gold medals and a bronze

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

Athletes and Unified Club representatives from Carter County traveled to Orlando last week for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Jack Brammel, an East Carter athlete participating in soccer and track and field, participated in the Youth Leadership Experience with Unified partner Titus McGlone and mentor Jamie Tiller. From the other end of the county, Levi Oney, an Olive Hill resident, represented team Kentucky in bowling.

Oney made an impression from his first outing, setting himself up to bring home two gold medals and a bronze for Carter County.

On Monday of last week he competed in the preliminary round of the bowling event with what Special Olympics Kentucky’s Mark Buerger called a “solid day,” bowling 253 in a three-game series, with a high of 99 in the first game.

After starting full competition in singles events on Tuesday, Oney claimed his first gold on Wednesday, bowling a personal best 356 to win the gold medal by 45 pins over Wyatt Branson of team Tennessee.

Later that same evening he took his second gold, in team doubles with Louisville’s Dallas Derringer. Derringer bowled a 562, and Oney a 316, for a team score of 878 to add a second bowling title to team Kentucky’s medal count. 

On Thursday Oney helped earn the team a bronze medal in team competition, adding his total of 277 to a team score of 1286. His teammates in that final match included Brianna Goode, of Glasgow, who bowled a 191 and took home a pair of golds and a bronze; Casey Freeman, of Franklin, who bowled a 323, and took home a gold and a bronze; and Derringer, who bowled a 496, and took home a gold, a silver, and a bronze.

While his athleticism earned him his medals, it was Oney’s personality that won the hearts of his coaches and teammates.

“Levi is one of the most kind-hearted individuals I’ve ever met,” Team Kentucky Bowling Coach Michael Gant said. “His determination and drive will continue to take him far. During the games, Levi said he wanted to bowl good for his dad, who passed away at the end of 2021.”

It made his first win even more touching, Gant said.

“When Levi found out he got the gold medal for the singles event, he kissed the medal and said, ‘This is for you, dad!’”

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com



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