Meet Faith Bennett-Wolfe

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Faith Bennett-Wolfe was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at a young age, but this hurdle has not stopped her from playing the game she loves. Bennett-Wolfe joined the Federal Hocking Girl’s basketball team and has been a continuing source of inspiration for the Lady Lancers ever since.

“She’s a blessing to be honest with you,” coach Jeremy Tolson said, “At the end of the day I think we’re going to get more from her than she will from us.”

Despite the Lady Lancers 0-2 start to the 2015 season, the team has rallied around Bennett-Wolfe throughout the early part of the season.

During the TVC Girls’ Basketball Preview, Bennett-Wolfe was sent to the free throw line late in the game with the Lady Lancers down one point. Bennett-Wolfe was able to make both free throws giving the Lady Lancers the lead with eight seconds left. If it wasn’t for a buzzer beater by the Meigs Lady Marauders, Bennett-Wolfe would have won the game for Federal Hocking.

“I believe that’s what Faith brings to the game,” Todd Wolfe, Bennett-Wolfe’s father, said. “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

Although the game ended in a loss, the Lady Lancers were able to walk away with smiles on their faces as the crowd gave Bennett-Wolfe and her teammates a standing ovation.

Bennett-Wolfe’s achievements are not only noticed by the Federal Hocking faithful, but by the opposing teams’ fans as well. No matter how far away from home the Lady Lancers are playing, Bennett-Wolfe receives cheers and encouragement from all fans.

“For me it’s overwhelming to have the support of all the parents and all of the students,” Wolfe said. “not just from Federal Hocking but from all the schools.”

When Bennett-Wolfe isn’t on the court, she is cheering on her teammates. Along with coach Tolson, Bennett-Wolfe provides the motivation and inspiration that the Lady Lancers depend on.

“She’s a great cheerleader,” Wolfe said, “it’s not just about her, it’s about the team and she’s very supportive of her team.”

Down Syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra copy or a partial copy of the 21 chromosome in their cells. Those diagnosed with Down Syndrome usually exhibit physical growth delays.

“Every step she takes is going to be a milestone.” Wolfe said.

Bennett-Wolfe is constantly surrounded by people who encourage and empower her, on and off the court. Whether she is at home with her sister, Zoey, her father, Todd, or on the court with coach Tolson, Bennett-Wolfe is able to represent her school and play the sport she loves.

“I hate the word Down Syndrome because there’s nothing down about them,” Zoey Bennett-Wolfe said,“ she has really changed my life for the better.”

Just as Bennett-Wolfe learns from her coach and her teammates, her teammates also learn from her. Bennett-Wolfe’s condition has given her teammates an opportunity to discover what it is like to interact and grow with a person with Down Syndrome.

By learning to work together and play together, Bennett-Wolfe and the Lady Lancers have formed a unique bond between teammates. Bennett-Wolfe has worked to inspire her teammates, and they have worked to incorporate her into the Lady Lancer system. Along with coach Tolson, the Lady Lancers and Bennett-Wolfe have formed a familial bond that will continue to grow throughout the season.

“We have a family atmosphere here and she’s fitting right in,” coach Tolson said, “I realized that maybe she was put here to help me out.”

Since joining the Federal Hocking basketball team, Bennett-Wolfe’s family has expanded. Wherever she is at home or on the court, Bennett-Wolfe is now a part of the Lady Lancer family. Bennett-Wolfe’s impact has grown from the Lady Lancers and eventually to the entire Tri-Valley Conference.