Special Olympians end a season of smiles with medals

By PATTI SELLS, News-Telegram Feature Writer

June 5, 2008 - Smiles beamed brighter than the sun at the University of Texas at Arlington May 23-25, as Como-Pickton Special Olympic athletes ended their season by bringing home first, second and third place medals.

Through fundraisers and donations by City National Bank, Pilot Club, Alliance Bank, Ballard Trucking, Tire Town, Dr. Matt Johnson, Golden K Kwanis Club and Folmar Drilling, six participants and 15 coaches, chaperones and volunteers were able to attend the special three-day event.

Special Olympic athletes from Como-Pickton have been active in meets since March 28, when Rains ISD kicked off the season. Meets followed in Commerce with a Hunt County meet on April 12; Franklin County in Mount Vernon on April 18; and an area-wide meet at Wylie High School on May 2 and 3.

Como-Pickton hosted Special Olympics Games on May 14, as well as games and friendly competition on Monday, May 19. Young athletes from Sulphur Springs, Mount Vernon and Rains County joined Como-Pickton athletes for a grand total of 58 participants in events ranging from assisted walk, track walk, 50-meter dash, softball throw, tennis ball throw, long jump and shot put.

It was a great day and everyone had a wonderful time, according to event organizer Sherri Tate of Como-Pickton.

"It was great to see all the students participating," Tate said.

She said Frito Lay, Black Jack BBQ of Commerce and Como-Pickton faculty and staff provided at hot dog lunch, with ice cream sandwiches donated from the Southwest Dairy Museum for dessert. Drinks were donated from Ozarka Water, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Foster's General Store, Joe Bob's of Como and Bennett Trucking.

Medals for the award ceremony that day were provided by Area 7 Special Olympics,.

Special Olympic athletes participating in one or more meets were: Wayne Benson, 400-meter walk and softball throw; Jacob Cravy, 50-meter dash and softball throw; Justin Downs, 50-meter dash and Turbo Jay; Benjamin Eauclaire, 50-meter dash and softball throw; Callie McCord, 100-meter walk and softball throw; Seth McElyea, 400-meter run and softball throw; Joanna Pyle, 25-meter walk and tennis ball throw; Daniel Ramirez, 100-meter dash and Turbo Jay; Samantha Simmons, 100-meter dash and softball throw; Laura Tellez, 400-meter run and softball throw; and Arika Russell, 25-meter walk and softball throw.

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