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Special Olympians from Harford to compete in Winter Games

Special Olympics Maryland will host its annual Winter Games at Ski Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg, Pa. on Monday and Tuesday.

More than 250 Special Olympics Maryland athletes from across the state will take to the snow, competing in alpine skiing and snowshoe events over the course of two days, including: advanced giant slalom, advanced slalom, advanced slalom (unified), intermediate giant slalom, intermediate slalom, intermediate slalom (unified), novice giant slalom, novice slalom, super glide and glide; snowshoe – 25 meter, 50 meter, 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, 800 meter, 1600 meter, 5 kilometer, 10 kilometer, 4 x 100 meter relay, 4 x 200 meter relay, 4 x 400 meter relay, 4 x 100 meter relay (unified), 4 x 200 meter relay (unified), 4 x 400 meter relay (unified).

Among the athletes, 15 will represent Harford County. Harford athletes competing in alpine skiing are: Peter Nelson Ballard, William Church, Shawn C. Coppenger, Audrey Fung, Andrew Ginley, Matthew Paul Loyco, Stephen Maras, Kai J. Mosby, Sharon Neary, Brian C. Parks, Stanley J. Skokowski III and Karen Stephens.

Harford athletes competing in snowshoeing are: Eric Brent Crites, Debbie Gring and Christopher David Hanson.

In addition to Special Olympics athletes, more than 75 coaches and unified partners will participate. Unified partners bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to train together and compete on the same team. There are five unified events in total at this year's Winter Games.

"The 2014 SOMD Winter Games are sure to be filled with talented athletes and exciting competition," said Jim Schmutz, Special Olympics Maryland President and CEO. "Each of the 250 athletes has spent countless hours training and preparing for the games, and we are ready to cheer them on. We are also thankful to our 150 volunteers, 75 coaches and countless partners who make this event possible. With their support, SOMD is able to provide athletes across the state the opportunity to participate in athletic competitions."

Opening ceremonies begin Monday at 11 a.m., followed by competition at 2 p.m. Monday's events will close out with an athlete social at 7 p.m. On Tuesday, competition will resume at 9 a.m., followed by awards at 11 a.m. For more information on the Winter Games, or for volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.SOMD.org


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