In what is a first for Watchung Hills Regional High School, and also for New Jersey, a local student, Alex Scheck, has won a position on Team New Jersey for soccer in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.
Scheck not only has been appointed to the soccer team — in the position of forward — but has also been selected to be a team representative for media interviews, a task which should not be difficult for this enthusiastic and knowledgeable athlete. Scheck, 20, is a tuition student from New Providence who also is a manager for other teams in the area.
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, to be held on June 14-21 next year, will involve 3,500 athletes from all over the United States, 1,000 coaches and delegates, 10,000 volunteers, and an estimated 70,000 spectators and families.
Participants will vie in aquatics, baseball, bocce, bowling, cycling, flag football, golf gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. In addition, there will be demonstrations in baseball and triathlon. Team New Jersey will include 280 athletes, and will have representatives in every sport.
Scheck has been involved in the game since age 10, when he joined the New Providence soccer team outside of school. He now plays with the New Jersey Hawks, who hone their skills in Clark and at the Mercer County Park.
In addition to playing in forward and goalie positions himself, Scheck also serves as manager for Watchung Hills Boys Soccer Team and as manager of Girls Basketball, in both of which positions he is serving for the fifth year.
Over the years, Scheck has been active in track and field, basketball, swimming, bowling.
Greg Leonow, his coach and trainer, said of Scheck: “He’s one of the most competitive, enthusiastic people I’ve met. It’s a joy to watch him.”
With fellow Olympians, Scheck will take part in the Opening Ceremonies for the national sports event on June 15 at the Prudential Center, Newark, where the traditionally impressive Parade of Athletes will take place, as well as the lighting of the Special Olympics Cauldron which opens the games.
The Closing Ceremonies will be held on June 20 at the Sun Bank Arena, Trenton, a celebration and culmination of the 2014 Games. In the intervening days, competition will take place at various venues, such as Rider College, Princeton University, Mercer County Park. Athletes will be housed at the various local universities in the area.
Before the big event, however, the public will get a preview of Team New Jersey.
Scheck to be introduced publicly at Rutgers game on November 2
Along with the other athletes in a variety of sports, Scheck will be introduced during the Rutgers football game at noon on Saturday, Nov. 2.
All those years of practice, all those competitions, all the team coaching Scheck has done have now culminated in the biggest challenge of all: the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.