Fourteen athletes trained by the South East Association for Special Parks And Recreation (SEASPAR) earned a combined 25 medals at the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games in Normal, Ill. June 9-11.
The Special Olympics Summer Games is the largest of the more than 175 Special Olympics competitions held throughout Illinois each year, and is the final state competition for Aquatics, Athletics (track and field), Bocce, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, and Soccer. Approximately 4,000 athletes competed at the event at the Illinois State University campus. SEASPAR was represented in all six sports by a total of 14 athletes.
SEASPAR’s two Powerlifting athletes earned multiple medals. Allen Rosete of Darien, a first-time Powerlifting competitor, earned gold medals in his division in the Bench Press and Deadlift events, and a silver medal in the Combination event. Emily Lundvall of Westmont took gold in both Bench Press and Combination, and silver in Deadlift while setting a new personal record.
The three Artistic Gymnastics competitors trained by SEASPAR also earned multiple medals. Anna Cavallo of Downers Grove took gold in her division in the Balance Beam, Uneven Bars, and Vault events. Kari Winter, also of Downers Grove, took gold in the Uneven Bars event and silver in Vault. Bridget Brown of Darien earned a gold medal in the Balance Beam event and a silver medal in Uneven Bars.
Five athletes represented SEASPAR in Aquatics events. Ryan McGuire of La Grange, a first-time Summer Games competitor, earned two gold medals in his division of the 25M Freestyle and 25M Backstroke events. Sam Smetko of La Grange Park took gold in the 50M Backstroke event and silver in the 100M Freestyle. Mark Ploskonka of Darien earned gold in the 50M Freestyle event and bronze in the 50M Backstroke. William Porch of Westmont took silver in the 50M Backstroke. Chris Tegeler of Darien joined teammates Smetko, Ploskonka, and Porch to earn gold in the 4X100M Freestyle Relay.
One SEASPAR athlete participated in the Soccer competition on a cooperative team representing SEASPAR and the Lily Cache Special Recreation Association, which serves the Bolingbrook and Plainfield Park Districts. Nate Church of La Grange earned a gold medal with his teammates.
SEASPAR was represented by one competitor in Athletics (track and field). Michael Drabik of Woodridge earned a bronze medal in the Pentathlon, which comprises five different events: 100-Meter Run, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump, and 400-Meter Run.
Mark Buglio of Lisle and Amanda Skozinski of Downers Grove teamed up to represent SEASPAR in the Bocce Traditional Doubles event, earning fourth place in Skozinski’s first Summer Games competition.
“The Summer Games is an important motivator for our Special Olympics athletes in these six sports,” said Susan Friend, Executive Director of SEASPAR. “Their families, coaches, peers, and all the SEASPAR staff encourage them while they train over weeks or even months. Our athletes work very hard to qualify for Summer Games, and whether they come home from the event with a gold medal or a participation ribbon, they know they’ve made all of us very proud for achieving their goal of competing at the state level.”
SEASPAR trains athletes for Special Olympics competitions in Alpine Skiing, Aquatics, Athletics (track and field), Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Flag Football, Floor Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Soccer, Softball, Snowshoeing, Tennis, and Volleyball. SEASPAR’s athletes compete in Special Olympics events throughout the year.
For more information about SEASPAR’s Special Olympics program or other recreational programs and services for individuals with disabilities, visit SEASPAR.org or call 630-960-7600.