Special Olympics athletes prep for State

CF graduate Jake Brustkern, Alec Vetter and John Glascock compete at Maple Lanes Bowling Alley in Waterloo for Special Olympics.

CFHS Special Olympics gives the community a place to help out and make a difference.

 “Special Olympics is a great opportunity for our athletes by allowing them to participate in activities and experience success. We welcome volunteers to help with the team and get to know our athletes,” Jan Williams, special educator at Peet and coordinator of the Special Olympics, said.

Every year, the Cedar Falls branch of the Special Olympics participates in three sports throughout the school session, giving new chances for success to everyone.

“Bowling is held during September and October. We practice at Maple Lanes with the district meet being held there also in October. Those athletes receiving first place finishes at the district level qualify for the state meet held in Cedar Rapids in November,” Williams said. “Our second sport is basketball skills, with practices in January at River Hills School. The district meet is held in early February at UNI and the state competition in Iowa City in March for the first place finishers at districts.”

The third and last event that Cedar Falls participates in is track and field, held in the spring with practices in January and February at the UNI Dome. The districts are held at UNI in early March.  Those qualifying for state spend three days on the ISU campus in Ames with the team for the state competition in late May, according to Williams.

With the opportunity to participate in three events, the Special Olympics program sees many students from Cedar Falls School District. The following participants are involved this year: junior Kendall Maslak (bowling), senior Kaeli Scallon (bowling, basketball, track), sophomore Lauren Wessels (bowling, basketball, track), sophomore Rebekah Bentley (bowling, basketball, track), sophomore Adia Mortl (bowling, basketball, track), sophomore Travis Redd (bowling,  track) and senior John Glascock (bowling).

With as big of an involvement as Cedar Falls has in the Olympics, there are many ways that students can help with the programs and volunteer. “Any Cedar Falls student is welcome to volunteer with the team at both practices and competitions by contacting one of the coaches (Connie Doughan or myself) and applying for their Class A certification with Special Olympics,” Williams said. “The community can recognize the athletes demonstrating success on their levels.  They will realize that these athletes can also be successful in other facets of life.”

The Special Olympics works to provide experiences and relationships for everyone not only in the school, but in the community as well. “The community can recognize the athletes demonstrating success on their levels. They will realize that these athletes can also be successful in other facets of life,” Williams said. “Athletes experience success in athletic events while becoming independent, forming friendships and being part of a team.”

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