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Meet the Team: Team Missouri 3 on 3 basketball

Group of people standing on a basketball court smiling at the camera

Meet the team that will represent Missouri in 3 on 3 basketball at USA Games, this summer at Disneyland in Orlando, Florida, June 5-12.

Front row: Lennie Wilson, Amelia Hernandez, Patty Sutton, Lizzy Darling
Back row: Coach Dan Niemeyer, Holly Turner, Heather Lammers, Coach Michelle Howell

They are led by their coach Dan Niemeyer who has been a coach and volunteer along with his wife for over 20 years. He got involved with Special Olympics Missouri when his son Jared became an athlete. Dan said his family has been blessed to be a part of the SOMO community. Of his team he said, “I am very proud of our 3 on 3 team, as they have worked at practices and in-between practices to improve their stamina and skills. It has also been exciting to see how they have improved in their abilities, leadership skills and with presentations to groups and businesses.”

Patty Sutton has been a SOMO athlete for 4 years, her sister Amber is the person who got her involved with Special Olympics. She said, “We’re family much as we are team, we cheer each other on”. Patty is looking forward to meeting athletes from other states at USA Games. Outside of sports she loves watching movies, going shopping, painting, and spending time with her niece Adalynn. She has a dog named Buddy Wayne.

Lennie Wilson has been an athlete for over 30 years, she said her team has practiced together as well as on their own in preparation for the State Basketball Games in Saint Charles, March 18-19 and for their trip to USA Games this summer. Lennie said she is looking forward to meeting other athletes and going to Disney World.

Lizzie Darling has participated in SOMO for over 20 years. Her team has had lots of practices, Lizzie also said she practices her skills with her family, she loves playing basketball like her sister Rachael. She said, “I am looking forward to spending a week with my friends and seeing new things.”

Holly Turner has competed in SOMO for 15 years. She is really excited about going to USA Games and meeting new friends and competing against other teams. This will be her first time flying on an airplane. Holly said, “This year has been exciting because I have learned new things. I have gotten to know my team better and been able to speak to different groups to tell them about Special Olympics.” She said her team is preparing for their upcoming competitions by practicing passing, getting rebounds, dribbling and shooting baskets.

Amelia Hernandez has been with SOMO for 10 years. She said she is excited about playing basketball against teams from other states and trading pins with other athletes. Amelia said, “Coach makes us run a lot and the team has had lots of practices.”

Heather Lammers has been an athlete for 2 years, ever since she moved to Kirksville. She said she has learned a lot about basketball and has practicing outside of regular team practice. Heather is most excited about Opening Ceremonies on ESPN, meeting new people, and being part of an awesome experience with my Kirksville, Missouri Special Olympics teammates.

Michelle Howell is one of the Head Coaches for Team Missouri 3-on-3 basketball and has been involved with Special Olympics for 14 years. She got involved with Special Olympics because of her older brother, Chris, who participates as an athlete. Special Olympics has changed the way that Michelle interacts with all people and she strives to see the abilities in everyone and help them become better athletes and leaders. She is so excited and proud to see the athletes working hard at practice and in their own time to build on their skills to prepare for the games. She is most excited for the athletes to see their hard work pay off.

Written by Athlete-leader, Nicole Noblet