Huntington teen scores gold in Special Olympics Winter Games

Members of the Huntington High School Snow Shoe

Members of the Huntington High School Snow Shoe Team at the state Special Olympics on Feb. 22, 2014. From left to right: Brendan Cribbin, 24, Liam Mrotzek, 17, Andrew Oh, 19, and John Cronin, 18. Photo Credit: Linda Roth

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A Huntington High School student won two gold medals in snowshoe races Saturday at the New York State Special Olympics Winter Games held in Syracuse, the team's coach said.

Andrew Oh, 19, won the 50-meter and 100-meter race. He and his team, which includes at least one alumnus, missed winning silver in a relay race by a fraction of a second. But the team took home three individual bronze medals in addition to the relay-race bronze, said the coach, Linda Costello-Roth, district chairwoman for special education for grades 7-12.

She said the team -- Brendan Cribbin, 24; John Cronin, 18; Liam Mrotzek, 17; and Oh -- prepared for the annual competition on Long Island beaches. Running on sand helped build their stamina.

But an unexpected downside popped up during the upstate races: Salt water had corroded some of the snowshoes' screws, causing a few falls.

"I guess they just, like, disintegrated," Costello-Roth said. "Lesson learned."

The Winter Games started Friday and end Sunday. Nearly 1,000 athletes and coaches are participating.

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Other Long Island teams in different divisions also "did exceptionally well" in floor hockey, skiing and snowshoe races, Costello-Roth said.

The Family Residences and Essential Enterprises team from Old Bethpage won four gold and two bronze medals in snowshoe races, she said.

In hockey, the Babylon Bobcats and Long Island Lions, who mainly live in Nassau County, captured gold, while the Commack Sharks won silver. Two downhill skiers from Long Island, competing in giant slalom and slalom divisions, also medaled, she said.

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