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Woodstock Challenger Little League team to be honored

A group of young athletes who reached one of the country’s top youth athletic stages last year will be honored next month on one of the state’s top political stages.

The Illinois District 13 Challenger Little League baseball team that played at the Little League World Series will head to Springfield next month to be recognized at the Illinois Capitol.

Each child will hear his name read and receive a certificate as the House adopts a resolution authored by state Rep. Barb Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake, on Feb. 26.

District 13 includes Woodstock Little League, which started the county’s first Challenger league two years ago. Challenger is a league for players ages 4 to 22 with mental and physical disabilities.

“Life is tough, and we all have our challenges,” Wheeler said. “These kids and families embrace it.”

The team’s day in Springfield will start with lunch in the Capitol cafeteria at 11:10 a.m., followed by the House session at noon. Afterward, players and families are invited to tour the Capitol.

Rochelle Donahue, the vice president of Challenger for Woodstock Little League, said the program was appreciative of the support – even if her son, Jacob, was most excited about a day off from school and a chance to swim in the hotel pool.

“These kids deserve all the recognition they can get,” Donahue said.

Wheeler, who opened the last Challenger season by throwing the first pitch, said the team would serve as a needed reminder of what’s important.

“Whether you have physical challenges or not, it’s a great lesson for all of us,” she said.

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