They got game.

For the first time ever, Carbon County sent athletes to the advanced bocce competition at the 2012 Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Fall Festival held earlier this month at Villanova University.

The event is SOPA's second largest annual competition, and welcomed about 1,400 coaches, athletes and Unified Partners representing more than 35 Pennsylvania counties to participate in bocce, long distance running/walking, powerlifting, roller skating, soccer and volleyball.

When all was said and done, bocce players Shane Ahner and Josh Brown of Lehighton nabbed gold, while Dale Lloyd (Lehighton) and Jose Karnish (Nesquehoning) won bronze on behalf of Special Olympics PA of Carbon County.

Brown said "it was a good competition. It was a long process. I'm proud."

Lloyd added "Villanova was awesome. I had a great time."

Ahner said "I take my time. I try to have fun."

In order to be eligible to participate in any competitions and be able to earn medals, athletes need to have a current, valid athlete medical on file.

Athletes must also attend a minimum of eight training sessions in order to earn medals at local events and possibly advance.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) provides year-round sports training and competition for more than 20,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The organization offers over 260 local and sectional events and four major statewide events - Winter Games, Summer Games, State Floor Hockey Tournament, and Fall Festival - in 23 sports with the opportunity for athletes to advance to regional and international competition.

For more information about other SOPA events, visit