Nearly 100 Carroll County public schools students competed alongside McDaniel College students in athletic events Friday, as part of the college’s 31st annual Tournament of Champions competition.
The event is open to students with orthopedic, visual or behavioral needs. All athletic activities in the competition were modified to meet each student’s needs, said Cheryl Knauer, McDaniel’s director of public relations.
”The event is an amazing day not only for the Carroll County students that participate, but also for our McDaniel student volunteers who are primarily student-athletes and kinesiology majors at the college — it’s so rewarding to see the interactions and smiles that the kids have throughout the event,” Knauer said.
Carroll County Public Schools students from Ebb Valley, Eldersburg, Elmer A. Wolfe, Friendship Valley, Hampstead, Linton Springs, Manchester, Mechanicsville, Mount Airy, Parr’s Ridge, Robert Moton, Runnymede, Spring Garden, Taneytown, William Winchester, and Winfield elementary schools and Oklahoma Road and Shiloh middle schools took part in this year’s Tournament of Champions, Knauer said.
After an opening ceremony and parade of student athletes, students participated alongside McDaniel student “buddies” in 15 athletic events, such as parachute play, beach ball volleyball and bowling.
Linda Kephart, a kinesiology professor at McDaniel who teaches an adapted physical education class, said every participant received a medal, T-shirt and certificate.
”It was a great day,” Kephart said. “The young kids just looked up to their college students holding onto their hands the whole time and they enjoyed taking pictures with them.
William Vandegrift, the school system’s instructional consultant for adapted physical education, said Carroll County students look forward to Tournament of Champions every year.
“It’s an event where the kids can come and participate in fun activities alongside their McDaniel ‘buddy’ … they absolutely love it,” Vandegrift said.
McDaniel senior kinesiology majors Chuck Csejka, a member of the golf team from Connecticut, and softball players Mattie Whalen from New Jersey and Maddie Froemel from Virginia, joined sophomore kinesiology major Amanda Butz, a softball player from Perry Hall, Maryland, as lead organizers.