Special olympics

On Saturday, June 18, Special Olympics Oregon held its annual track and field regional competition for more than 225 athletes at Grants Pass High School. In all, 17 different athletic events were held, including such events as 50, 100 and 400 meter dashes, 50 and 100 meter race walks, 400 meter race, 800 and 3,000 meter runs, 4x100 meter relay, 4x400 meter relay, running long jump, shot-put and softball throw.

The Jackson County program was represented by 34 athletes and 12 coaches. Athletic highlights include the Jackson County 4x100 meter relay team of Aaron Aarseth, Ross Martin, Christopher Steen and David Taylor running their best time of one minute flat. Overall, Jackson County athletes brought home 11 gold medals, 14 silver medals, 12 bronze medals, and 35 ribbons, and all will advance to Summer Games in Newberg on July 16 and 17.

Another highlight was Ashland Kiwanis President Jeanne Walcher presenting fundraising chair Michelle Carson with a check for $1,000 to show their continued support of the Jackson County local program. The Kiwanis Club of Ashland sent six members as volunteers to help support the program, time events, measure shot put distances, and to serve as cheerleaders. The Kiwanis members included Ted and Judy Sockman, Charlie Beecham, Jeanne Walcher, Don Paul, and Ron Parker.

There is no cost to athletes for participation in Special Olympics. All funding for equipment, uniforms, practice facilities and travel costs to competitions are raised by volunteers. Athletes can get an application to participate by calling 541-779-7120.

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