MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- John Sanfratello is the self-appointed public relations man for the Hudson Valley Special Olympics Sound Shore-based volleyball team that is part of the local team selected to compete in the New York State Summer Games that begin Friday on the campus of the University of Buffalo."We have a good team with some very good players and we will be playing in Buffalo for a medal," said Sanfratello, a 30-year-old Pleasantville resident and veteran Special Olympian. "I think we can be good on the offense with out best players and we can also play defense. Buffalo is a big trip for us." The Sound Shore-based contingent trains at Hommocks Middle School and is one of several teams -- in bowling, basketball, volleyball, track and field -- on hand in Buffalo for Friday's opening ceremonies that will begin two days of the annual Summer Games, June 15-17. "The athletes always enjoy traveling to the big events," said Suzanne Elson, longtime coordinator for Sound Shore's Hudson Valley group. "The athletes are nominated from the local area teams (Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess counties) and this year we have a volleyball, swimming and track team going. We have a few very good players here. And all of our people are very dedicated." Sanfratello said the volleyball team had players of different levels of skill with teammate Jhon Valencia, a 27-year-old from Mamaroneck leading the attack. "I also play with the town volleyball (league)," said Valencia, who is also a top track athlete specializing in the pentathlon. "We can play pretty well and we are strong in digging and spiking the ball. I hope we can play good enough to win but we will play hard all the way." The Sound Shore-Hudson Valley Special Olympics volleyball team also includes: Ben Forbes, Kimberly Jones, Mark Walsh, Max Fahrbach, Jimmy Montoya, Ryan Silverman, Nick Brown and Ann Hertel and are coached by Elson and former Mamaroneck High School volleyball player Aly Gaiser.
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