|Cathleen Morgan, Christopher Morgan, Mallory Monfredi, Nina Shrewsbury and Tara Miller proudly display the trophies, medals, and championship t-shirts that the earned at the state goalball championships.|
When participating or even watching sports, one most often forgets how fortunate it is that eye sight allows sports to be viewed by all who enjoy them. By participating in sports, one may see the action, view the crowd, and glance at the score board. These actions are just part of being at a sporting event. For some however, this gift of sight has overlooked them. Many people suffer from vision impairment, including children in the Carbon County area.
Five students from the Carbon School District recently participated in a tournament for the sport of goalball, a growing sport among the visually impaired. The Event which was held in early April, was sponsored by the Utah Foundation for the Blind and brought students from all over the state to compete. Carbon High student Mallory Monfredi, along with Westridge students Christopher and Cathleen Morgan, and Petersen Elementary students Nina Shrewsbury and Tara Miller practiced their goalball skills through February and March to prepare for the state event.
Goalball is a sport played with three players on each team. Because the children have varying degrees of visual impairment, all participants are required to wear a blindfold.
The goalball teams are made up of three players, the center and two wings, who find their positions by feeling for raised lines on the floor. The teams roll the ball to each other, which looks similar to a basketball, but is heavy and contains bells so it can be heard.
The objective of the game is to get the ball past the opposing team and make a goal. The defending team then must try to block the shot and make their own goal in a 10 second time limit. The game is played in two seven minute halves and is a very fast paced, competitive sport.
Once the team became skilled in the event, the team then traveled to Salt Lake to compete in the state tournament. The local team was made up of the Morgan's and Monfredi who joined an Orem participant to compete in the competitive division at the event. The team finished in third place.
Shrewsbury, played in the non-competitive division for younger students. Miller, was not able to attend the tournament, but participates in the local goalball demonstrations for the teams classmates.
The participants who placed in the state event, received trophies and medals for their accomplishment. These awards were handed out by three BYU athletes, Dane Runia, O'Neil Howell, and Mark Bigelow. The BYU athletes tried their hand at goalball, and after losing to experienced goalball players, decided that basketball and football were simpler games to play.
Monfredi, who is a junior at Carbon High, has been invited to compete in the national goalball competition in Florida in October as part of the Utah girls team.
Monfredi has been participating in the sport for three years and is anxious in competing in the national event. "It will be unlike anything I've ever experienced before. I am excited to participate, but I really look forward in going to Florida," stated an excited Monfredi.
The Utah state boys and girls goalball teams placed first and third in the national tournament last year, and Monfredi hopes to be part of a second national championship team this year.