Bocce Ball Team


Gracen Shepps, News Editor

This year, the Bocce Ball team began here at MASH, and it has been bringing students together ever since. Coaches Mr. Erney and Mrs. Sabatini work together to make these students the best they can be. All involved are very exciting to be kicking off the new season this year. 


The Bocce Ball team is an extension of the PALS at MASH, and it is affiliated with Special Olympics. Special Education Athletes work alongside a Regular Education partner. There are eight athletes and partners on the Bocce Ball team, making up two teams. They compete against local schools such as Northern, Boiling Springs, and Big Springs. Mr. Erney shared what a great experience this is for students, saying, “It is a great extension of their relationships in PALS. It gives a variety of students the chance to play a varsity sport here at Mechanicsburg.”

It helps all students to form valuable, lasting friendships. 


One pair on the Bocce Ball team is brother sister duo Katie Costello and Kyle Costello. They both enjoy getting to have fun together, while being active at games and practices. Katie, an athlete, looks forward to practices and getting to see her teammates. When asked what she likes best about being on the team, she happily replied, “I like working and just having fun with my friends!” When asked what his favorite part of being on the team was, Katie’s partner Kyle explained, “It’s a lot of fun and a good experience for them to participate in a team event.” 


Another pair on this team is Ania Hawkins-Williams and Grace Wiedman. By getting to participate in a sport and work together, all teammates and partners get to have fun, and create a friendship unlike any other. They work together very well and always brighten each other’s day. Ania’s Partner, Grace, states, “I have thoroughly enjoyed being Ania’s partner on the Unified Bocce team here at MASH. Her funny personality always brightens my day, and our Bocce practices together are a consistent highlight of my week. Bocce is definitely an awesome sport, but what I love most about it is being a part of something larger than myself. We are promoting inclusivity and friendship among our peers, which is the most important of all. I’m so honored to be a part of this program- especially with my amazing pal, Ania!” 


Ania also shares a love for being Grace’s partner. She has learned a lot, and knows that she can always count on her. Ania states, “ What I like about being on the bocce ball team is that I get to be with my friends and go against other bocce ball teams. And I like being partners with Grace because she tells me don’t be stressed and just take your time when I’m rolling the balls. She is a good and funny friend to me and I’m glad that I’m partners with Grace, I’m really going to miss her on the bocce ball team.”


Overall, this team is an amazing experience for both athletes and partners alike. This club includes everyone, and helps special education students to get the experience of being Varsity athletes, which is something that brings them so much joy. Coach Mr. Erney described, “The best thing about this team is that everyone is equal. Expectations are always the same for partners and athletes.” 


It’s very clear what a great experience this has been for everyone involved. Ania has learned a lot from her partner, Grace, and the team as a whole, but the most important thing she has learned being a member of the Bocce team is, “Be whoever you want to be and live the dream that you want.”