October 15, 2014
By Steve Helm
AUSTIN, Texas – The Games are here! Special Olympics Texas’ (SOTX) Fall Classic returns to Bryan/College Station for the 11th time in the 14-year history of its fall state games from October 16-18, 2014. Approximately 1,600 athletes and Unified Partners and 200 coaches, representing 19 SOTX areas, will compete in aquatics, bocce, golf and softball. The event is free and open to the public.
“Our athletes have been preparing so hard for these Games for many months and it will be a joy to watch all of them compete to the best of their ability for a medal,” SOTX President and CEO Margaret Larsen said. “The Bryan/College Station area has world-class facilities for our athletes to compete in and we are extremely grateful for their community working diligently to accommodate all of athletes, coaches, volunteers and families for this event. It’s going to be another very exciting Fall Classic weekend!”
The official kick-off to Fall Classic occurs on Friday night, Oct. 17 at 7:00 p.m. with the Opening Ceremony at A&M Consolidated Middle School. The ceremony will feature the lighting of the Special Olympics Texas cauldron to signify the official start of the Games, followed by the Victory Dance. The guardians of the flame will be Bryan/College Station area police officers and the torch bearers will be athletes from four Texas regions: Michael Aguilar (South/Central Region, Raquel Rosas (West Region), Mary Alice Rodriguez (North Region) and Sarah Bales (East Region).
Bocce athletes will begin preliminary competition on Thursday, Oct.16, while aquatics, golf and softball events will get underway on Friday, Oct. 17.
Aquatics will be held at Texas A&M Natatorium (Student Rec Center, College Station, TX) and Golf will take place at Briarcrest Country Club (1929 Country Club Dr., Bryan, TX). Both Bocce and Softball will be played at College Station Veterans Park (3101 Harvey Rd., College Station, TX).
Athlete Village and Wellness Park will be held at the Brazos Center, a new location for this year’s event. Wellness Park will feature “Healthy Hearing”, a free screening for all athletes provided by the Healthy Athletes ® program on Friday and Saturday.
More than 1,000 volunteers from across the state are expected to participate in the event this year, serving in numerous capacities including as officials, athlete escorts, award presenters and administrative support services.
For a schedule of events and all information regarding the 2014 Fall Classic, click here.
About Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect. SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 51,300 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. To learn more, visit www.specialolympicstexas.org or call 800.876.5646. Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas; fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX; youtube.com/specialolympicstexas.
HISTORY OF SOTX FALL CLASSIC
SOTX began holding state games during the fall season in 2000. The first three years (2000-2002) of the annual event was held in Bryan/College Station before moving to Waco, Texas for the next three years (2002-2005). Fall Classic returned to Bryan/College Station in 2006 and has been the home for these Games ever since.
GIVE A FIVE FOR FALL CLASSIC
From now through the end of the 2014 Fall Classic, an online campaign is running to help support SOTX athletes. All are encouraged to “Give A Five” for Fall Classic athletes, so that SOTX can provide the support for them year-round at for future Fall Classics. Those interested in making a contribution can click here: http://bit.ly/1DbWxAU. Your generosity is extremely appreciated!
BREAKING DOWN THE ATHLETES
An estimated 1,600 athletes will compete in four sports at the 2014 Fall Classic. Here is how that breaks down for each sport:
|SPORT||APROX. NUMBER OF ATHLETES|
FROM ACROSS THE LONE STAR STATE
Below is a breakdown of number of athletes representing various parts of Texas. Fourteen of the 19 SOTX areas will have representation.
|Area||APROX. NUMBER OF ATHLETES|
|Greater Fort Worth||247|
|Heart of East Texas||191|
|Heart of Texas||50|
|Rio Grande Valley||1|
FOLLOW THE GAMES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
SOTX is active on all social media platforms. Be sure to follow us for complete updates and coverage of the 2014 Fall Classic.
|SOCIAL NETWORK||PROFILE NAME|
FACES IN THE FIELD…
Jason Martinez - On September 23, 2014 Area 20 held their annual Golf Competition at Republic Golf Club in San Antonio. The competition includes Individual Skills, Individual Course and Partner Course play. Over 60 athletes competed that day. During the event, Martinez, member of the All-American All-Stars delegation, competed in individual 18-hole play. He made a hole in one on the eighth hole using a 9-iron. This was the first hole in one EVER for an Area 20 athlete. Martinez is now affectionately known around town as the ‘Phil Mickelson’ of Area 20!
Marcus Capozzelli a softball athlete, helps at Needham Fire and Rescue in the Woodland. Wants to become a volunteer fireman, like his brother. He is coached by Marti Young and Eric Joerg.
Chan (pronounced Shawn) Hebert is the Head of Delegation of the HOT Chargers, who will be at Softball competition. Chan began as a Key Volunteer at Aquatics in 2007 and continued to volunteer up until 2 years ago when she became a coach/HOD.
Lee Ann Ellis will be competing in bocce for the Corsicana Tigers. She is the Age 22+ Athlete of the Year for Area 12 (Heart of Texas) for 2014. She all competes in bowling, athletics and basketball throughout the year.
Works at a sheltered workshop. Last weekend, she was recognized as a Special Olympics athlete at the Baylor – TCU game Oct. 11 with an on-field presentation.
Celina Escobedo competes in aquatics with the Escobedo Star delegation. Her mom and dad are her coaches. Celina is also an SOTX athlete coach and Global Messenger. Celina is quite the star, she not only competes in SOTX but is a member of the City of Pharr Aquatics TAAF Team, the Leopard Seals. She did several practice meets in the Rio Grande Valley and then won four first place medals in 50-yard butterfly, breast, backstroke, and free style, which qualified her for state games. Last year at Fall Classic, she won second in the 50-yard butterfly, fourth in 50-yard backstroke and seventh in 50-yard freestyle.
Chris Curtis (Fort Worth Area)
Raymee Haas (Fort Worth Area)
Ross Steele (Fort Worth Area)
Smooth Swing Golf
They have been in existence for about 15 years. Each year they hold a golf tournament to raise funds for Fall Classic so that athletes’ families don’t have to pay for hotels etc. Jim Houser, HOD, is the Competition Director for Area 11’s golf competition. He is amazing and takes care of everything including volunteers. They have a large number of Unified Partners on their team.
Rachel Seba (athlete - Allen)
Brittany Wirkman (athlete - Allen)
Rob Mehnert (coach – Carrolton Farmers Branch)
Leighan Landrum / Kara Brooke Plumbeck (athletes - Richardson)
Schelly Porter (athlete – Hunt Co Soapers)
Paul Holland (athlete – Lewisville)
Rose Antony (coach - Rockwall)
Thys Jones & Thys Jones (Athlete & Unified Partner – Allen)
Blain Hardin / Dean Morris (Athlete & Unified Partner – McKinney Magic)
Jonathan Blackmon & Ehren Guntart (athlete & caddy)
Erika Johnson (Wylie Sashse Murphy)
Renae Carswell (Parent /Coach – Lewisville)