More than 75 athletes from the Hermiston/Pendleton Special Olympics Local Program #510 recently competed at three regional tournaments.
The golf competition took place June 10 near Banks. First time athlete Saul Lara received a gold medal in the Individual Skills Competition and David Andrews, a longtime Special Olympic athlete but new to the golf program, received a bronze. Jonathan Wilson and unified partner Dan Headley earned silver in a nine-hole alternating stroke play, Jonathan Kinsel and unified partner Tye Stewart took fourth place followed by Jason Cargill and partner Kris Neustel with a sixth place finish.
On June 11, six members of the Eastside Rollers bocce team traveled to Hillsboro to compete. The Traditional Bocce` team of Makayla Thompson and Mary Jones earned silver medals in the female division, while partners Jillian Smalley and Lyall Arey also took silver in their division. The first time unified team of Misty Larsen and Jessica Sexton took bronze. All three teams earned the sportsmanship awards for their respective divisions.
The Athletics team (track and field events) traveled to Milton-Freewater for competition. With more than 60 athletes, many medals were earned including a come-from-behind bronze medal finish for the relay team of Cassidy McQuinn, Jeff McEachran, Timothy Tichy and Cameron Goldie, who are coached by Di Fordice.
A high point of the competition experience began even before boarding the bus. Each athlete was presented with a card made by the leadership students at Sandstone Middle School encouraging them to do well in competition.
“We are one program and these cards made by students at Sandstone were just one more unifying factor for our team,” said Angela Schneider, local program coordinator.
Special Olympics provides year-round athletic training and sports competitions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To participate, athletes must be age 6 or older. There is no charge to participate.
The next sports season for the local program is bowling, which begins Sept. 1 at Desert Lanes in Hermiston. Signups are Monday, Aug. 21, from 4-5 p.m. at The Arc Building, 215 W. Orchard Ave., Hermiston. For more information about participating as an athlete or volunteer, call Angela Schneider at 541-314-0166.