Harrison Pyner, a senior at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, helped the U.S. 18U basketball team earn a gold medal in the 2019 Pan American Maccabi games in Mexico City on July 15.
Pyner, 17, a Pepper Pike resident and member of Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike, played shooting guard for the Maccabi team. He described his first experience out of the country as “amazing.”
“I met people from all around the world while getting to play basketball, which is the best thing, it was awesome, hard to explain but just being there with my teammates I just met, becoming really close with them ... It was great to experience the way different cultures experience different things.”
In addition to playing, Pyner also joined his teammates on a service experience during the games, where they traveled to a mountainous area of Mexico that isn’t as wealthy. Pyner said he and his teammates got to play with the local children and give out prescription eyeglasses, another experience he appreciated.
“I know on my team, all the kids were good … everyone was (an) all-star in their city type of stuff,” said Pyner of his teammates. “It was hard to come by a ton of minutes, but honestly it’s just about the experience.”