HAYSVILLE, KS, August 29, 2023 – Casey Hostetler, a Haysville resident will play in the Special Olympics North America (SONA) Tennis and Pickleball Tournament in South Carolina this October. The SONA Tennis and Pickleball Tournament is a chance for qualifying athletes from all over the country to compete.
Hostetler also competed in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, placing in the top three of her division. This performance helped her qualify for the SONA Tennis and Pickleball Tournament. Hostetler plays level five tennis, level six being the highest.
CEO and President of Special Olympics Kansas John Lair explains how proud the organization is.
“Casey has been an amazing athlete for Special Olympics Kansas for a long time. We are excited to watch her compete,” Lair said. “She has earned this trip with her hard work and dedication.”
This is not Hostetler’s first time competing in this tournament. One of her favorite memories was the 2016 tournament during opening ceremonies. Every year they have professional tennis players pull Special Olympics athletes and play a game together.
“Casey already had a chance to play with a professional the year before, so we didn’t think she would again this year. She was wearing flip flops,” her mother Gloria Hostetler said. “She ended up getting chosen to play, but couldn’t in flip flops. Her and her partner just played barefoot.”
During her time with Special Olympics Kansas, she has also competed in the 2009 Winter World Games for snowshoeing where she received the ‘Most Inspirational Athlete’ honor, and the 2015 Summer World Games and the 2018 USA Games for tennis. She is also a Special Olympics Kansas Hall of Fame recipient.
Casey Hostetler has been an athlete with Special Olympics Kansas for over 20 years. She also competes in basketball, track, skiing, snowshoe, bocce, volleyball, and bowling, but she’s always been a natural at tennis.
“She watched her sister play throughout high school. That’s what got her interested in the sport. They used to play doubles together,” her mother Gloria Hostetler said.
Outside of sports, Casey Hostetler has worked at Dillons for 13 years and is part of the Wichita Hot Air Balloon Crew. Her favorite quote comes from professional softball player Jenny Finch, “try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine.” She can be described as a social butterfly, flying from one person to another.
“She has never met a stranger,” Gloria Hostetler said.
Casey and Gloria Hostetler credit Special Olympics Kansas for this.
“I was very shy and had trouble making friends. My coaches brought out the athlete in me and gave me self confidence,” Casey Hostetler said. Her mother agrees.
“Casey was very shy and withdrawn before Special Olympics Kansas. It really helped her break out of that shell,” Gloria Hostetler said.
Casey Hostetler is looking forward to the competition that will be in South Carolina compared to playing in Kansas, but she is really excited for the fun and friendship this tournament brings her. Good luck to Casey Hostetler at the SONA Tennis and Pickleball Tournament.