CLEWISTON- The Hendry County Special Olympics 5th Annual Middle & High School Culminating Event was hosted by Clewiston Middle School on Friday, May 21, at Cane Field. Athletes from LaBelle High School, LaBelle Middle School, Clewiston High School, and Clewiston Middle School arrived early that morning, ready to compete in track and field events like standing long jump, wheelchair obstacle race, and softball throw.
Hendry County Special Olympics Coordinator, Crystal Rodriguez, lined up her student volunteers on either side of the track. They cheered, “We are proud of you! We are proud of you!” while each team of athletes entered the stadium.
The audience, filled with middle school students, joined in welcoming the teams and roared with applause. The positive energy began radiating from each of the competitors, and they continued to encouraged each other while warming up for the competition.
While doing their stretches, a few athletes expressed that they might not be fast enough for the upcoming 25 meter run. Others agreed, they were nervous to approach the start line.
“I heard this saying once, it goes- do your best and forget the rest!” said Ethan Jarvis, a 10th grade athlete from Clewiston High School who had come to compete.
The other students began to smile and nod in agreement with Jarvis, and patted each other on the back. They encouraged each other as they approached the starting line together.
Many of the volunteers and athletes enjoyed a cool snow cone and some popcorn, in between events, courtesy of Vargas Rentals. Hendry Sodexo, in charge of the school district’s food service department, donated lunch for those volunteering during the event.
The competition went on for hours, filled with smiles and happy cheers, and each of the athletes did their absolute best. There was no shortage of hugs and high fives as the event came to an end.
The winners of the culminating event who received ribbons were:
Wheelchair Obstacle Race 1st Place: Natalie Cervantes
Standing Long Jump:
1st Place: Antonio Goree, Nicholas Zinaman,
2nd Place: Jose Tinoco, Zackery Harris, Mateo Hernandez
3rd Place: Pablo Guzman
1st Place: Sammy Cruz
2nd Place: Antonio Goree
3rd Place: David Davis
4th Place: Nickolas Zinaman
25 Meter Wheelchair Race:
1st Place: Natalie Cervantes
25 Meter Assisted Walk
1st Place: Liliana Guillen-Mena
2nd Place: Julissa Herrera
3rd Place: Juan Cruz- Martinez
4th Place: Kevin Daiz- Morales
25 Meter Run:
1st Place: Sammy Cruz, Adam Sanchez 2nd Place: Pablo Guzman
3rd Place: Nickolas Zinaman
4th Place: Jeremy Lopez
25 Meter Walk
1st Place: Sophia Caltabiano
2nd Place: Sam Morales
3rd Place: Mateo Hernandez
4th Place: Jose Tinoco
25 Meter Assisted Run :
1st Place: Adrian Mendez
2nd Place: Maria Carrillo
50 Meter Run:
1st Place: Pablo Guzman
2nd Place: Ethan Jarvis
3rd Place: Dalton M.
4th Place: Eddy Flecha
50 Meter Assisted Walk:
1st Place: Pete Morrison
2nd Place: Adrian Mendez
3rd Place: Emily Salazar
4th Place: Kevin Daiz-Morales
4x4 Relay Race:
1st Place: Clewiston High School
2nd Place: LaBelle High School
3rd Place: LaBelle High School
4th Place: LaBelle Middle School
5th Place: Clewiston Middle School
Many of the volunteers said they really enjoyed the event, and everyone said they couldn’t wait for next year.
To find out more about getting involved in Special Olympics, visit the Hendry County School District website: https://www.hendry-schools.org/Page/9551