A local school is celebrating it’s first place conference finish in a sport that some people may have never even heard of before.
The Illinois School for the Visually Impaired has placed first in their conference in Goalball, and they celebrated with a ride around the square on Jacksonville Fire Department Trucks and a rally at the school.
ISVI Athletic Director Ken Mansell explains the game of Goalball for those who are unfamiliar with the game..
“Goalball is a three-on-three event between two teams that is very similar to soccer going back and forth. It’s a team sport designed specifically for the blind athletes and was started way back in 1946,” says Mansell.
Mansell tells us about the tournament where the students competed for the title.
“There were eleven different states that brought teams and it was held in St. Louis at the Missouri School for the Visually Impaired. Everybody’s season culminates in the conference goalball tournament. Throughout the year, every team participates in very games or tournaments where three or four teams will get together and play a round robin, and then it culminates in a big goalball tournament down in Missouri,” Mansell explains.
Mansell also gives us an idea of what this conference championship means to the competitors.
“I’m speechless as far as what it really meant to the kids. The kids were extremely excited, they don’t get very many opportunities to celebrate with a police escort or on a fire truck, yet they’re always talking about public schools or private schools, when they go back home, that have won a state championship. At the same time here, this conference tournament, that is their state tournament, it’s on that same type of level,” says Mansell.
ISVI’s sports season is not over yet; they still have competitions in wrestling, cheerleading, swimming, and forensics. To hear more about this team, and other great stories from ISVI you can listen to Thursday’s AM Conversation with Mansell on our website at WLDS/WEAI.com