Nearly 2,500 Special Olympics athletes from throughout New Jersey, joined by hundreds of coaches, volunteers, family members, friends and spectators, will participate in the 2015 Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games which will run from June 12-14 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township. Hunterdon County’s athletes will compete in aquatics, bocce, softball, tennis, and track & field.
Hunterdon Central’s spring track & field team, led by Coach Sharon Tompa, are currently training Area 4’s Special Olympics Track and Field athletes for the state games. In an interview with Ms. Tompa, she responded to Barbara Berger, Public Relations chair for Hunterdon County’s Special Olympics program, by saying that she is “…excited about the training program with this year’s, twenty Special Olympics athletes and forty high school volunteers from the Hunterdon Central Track and Field team. Central’s trainers come prepared, motivated, and eager to work with and help the athletes do their best. The program is a mix of workouts that trains athletes for their events at Summer Games.” Central’s crew is incorporating stretching techniques before and after practices, along with drills “They work on a range of activities like, building stamina and practicing their speed and agility. The Special Olympics athletes get to work with their trainers, like a team who are friends and want to do their best. The program is organized very well by Karen Skellington,” the local program coordinator, who began this community outreach and training program in May of 2011. “Several volunteer track mothers assist her.” Ms. Tompa is the fall Head Boys and Girls Cross Country Coach. In the winter and spring, she is an Assistant Coach for the Boys and Girls Track and Field teams.
As the Central athletes are building bonds with the Special Olympics athletes, they will also be following them to the Summer Games as their one-on-one escorts during the day on Saturday and Sunday. The events that the Special Olympics athletes are training for include: 50m, 100m, 200m, dashes, 50m walk, shot put, javathrow, softball throw, and 4x100m traditional relay races.
The last leg of the State “Law Enforcement Torch Run” precedes Opening Ceremonies, which are held in Lions Stadium on The College of New Jersey’s campus at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 12. The event is free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary. Spectators should give themselves enough time to park and get to their seats prior to the ceremonies beginning. Bring your enthusiasm and your cameras.
See sonj.org for a schedule of the weekend’s activities. For information about becoming a volunteer, to register an athlete, to coach a sport, or if your civic group or business would like to get involved in Hunterdon County Special Olympics, call Area Director Joyce Kirchin at 908-236-7807 or firstname.lastname@example.org