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Carroll County Times
Carroll County News

Carroll County Special Olympics hosts 50th opening ceremony at Westminster High School

More than 260 athletes and 27 schools gathered at Westminster High School on Wednesday morning to kick off the Carroll County Special Olympics Spring Games.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. Their mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition through a variety of Olympic-type activities.

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Wednesday marked the Carroll County Special Olympics’ 50th opening ceremony. The one-day event concluded with the presentation of medals in the afternoon.

In addition to student athletes, 35 adults participated in the Spring Games as part of Carroll’s adult sports team, the Tigers.

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The event began with a parade featuring the Westminster High School Marching Band, who performed while school teams were being announced.

“The best part was when we turned to the athlete’s and led them in the Special Olympics athletes’ oath,” said Kathy Zubach, event coordinator and head track and field coach for the Tigers.

Athlete Christopher Anderson led the oath, with the others repeating his words: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

After the oath was complete, the games began. Zubach said the competition included running, standing long jump, softball throw and other track and field events.

“We also have sports year-round such as kayaking, soccer and we’re starting flag football,” she said.

Some other sports offered include swimming, basketball, boccie, bowling, cheerleading, cycling, golf, and softball.

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Another coach, Harvie Combass, said Carroll County is blessed to have a Special Olympics program.

“The kids are always willing to take that extra step, to go that extra mile,” he said. “Seeing the community support for these kids is amazing ... and it brings everyone together.”

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Local athletes will have the opportunity to participate in the state games in Towson in June.

“This is such a big deal because in addition to the feeling of accomplishment … there is a social aspect and the athletes enjoy being on the field with their competitors and seeing their fans,” Zubach said. “They want to be integrated and the event gives them a taste of that.”

Carroll County Commissioner Dennis Frazier, a District 3 Republican, who attended the ceremony, said he’s worked with Special Olympics athletes during his time as an educator for Carroll County Public Schools.

“This is a great program,” he said. “It’s really worthwhile. ... The kids work hard for it and do the best they can.”

A variety of other elected officials and community leaders attended the opening ceremony Wednesday, including Sheriff Jim DeWees, Commissioner Richard Weaver, Carroll County Public Schools Superintendent Steven Lockard, Del. Haven Shoemaker, Westminster Mayor Mona Becker and Director of Special Education Nicholas Shockney, among others.


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