Clarion County Special Olympics Track And Field Meet Held At Memorial Stadium (05/10/14)

Over two hundred athletes, from the area converged on Memorial Stadium on Thursday, May 8th, for the Clarion County Special Olympics Track and Field Meet.

Teams from the A-C Valley, Clarion Area, Clarion-Limestone, East-Forest, Keystone, and Union School Districts and TTSR and UCIP participated. Among those helping to make this a memorable day for the Olympians, were Clarion County Special Olympics staff members, caregivers, high school students and other volunteers.

The events were broken down in age group brackets: 8-11, 12-15, 16-19, 20-21 and Adults.

The festivities started with the “Parade of Athletes” with the Clarion Area Band, under the direction of Mr. Chris Curry, providing the music. The teams marched around the track, each with its own unique banner.

Then the Opening Ceremonies began with the Torch Relay. Relay Members included Raley Yori from Rimersburg Elementary, Timothy Reichard from Keystone Elementary, Austin Songer from Clarion High School and Adult Representative, Roberta Schueler.

Next, the Keystone Panthers Competitive Cheerleading Squad performed several routines, to the delight of the crowd. After that the Keystone High School students sang the National Anthem with the “Colors” presented by the Knights of Columbus.

Reverend Daryl Larsen, from The First United Methodist Church in Clarion, led the invocation. This was his seventh year to do the honors and he received a nice ovation after emcee/PA announcer Neal Lewis mentioned that this would be Dr. Larsen’s last year, as he is retiring.

Shelly Reddinger and Cody Carlson led the Athlete’s Oath, then it was on to the competition.

The Special Olympians competed in various events, among them: 100 and 200, standing long jump, softball throw, turbo javelin, assistive walks and wheelchair race.

Medals and ribbons were presented after each event by Miss Teen ALF, Paige Schwabenbauer, Miss Junior Teen ALF, Maddie McNamara and Miss Pymatuning’s Outstanding Teen 2014, LuLu Hamm.
There was a Banner Contest judged by Clarion Chamber Executive Director: Tracy Becker, RIU6 Executive Director, Jeff Brown and Cody Rapp, Assistant to the Chamber Director.

There were an number of businesses and organizations who donated to this year’s event.

Cindy Beck, the Manager of The Clarion County Special Olympics emphasizes that Special Olympics is more than just this one event.

Beck said, “We offer sports training year round in the following sports: basketball, bocce, bowling and volleyball. We also attend sectional and state competitions.”

She continued, “In the past we offered athletics, aquatics and golf but because of the lack of coaching had to discontinue these sports.

“We are hoping to find volunteers interested in certifying as coaches for these so they can be offered again.”

For more information on volunteering or donating to The Clarion County Special Olympics, contact Beck at or P.O. Box 545, Clarion, PA 16214