Panhandle-Area SOTX Athletes to Compete in World-Renowned Penn Relays

Four SOTX athletes and four Unified Partners will participate in the nation’s oldest and largest track and field competition, hosted annually in Philadelphia, Pa.



Front (left to right): Kylie Tyson, Savannah Barlett, Elizabeth Campbell, Rici Galdean; Back (left to right): Tyrell Coats, Dillon Hughes, Joey Nakamura and Wyatt Garton.

AMARILLO – Eight Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) athletes and Unified Partners from the Panhandle Area will join elite track and field athletes from around the world in Philadelphia this weekend at the 122nd annual Penn Relays. 

Athletes Kylie Tyson (Canyon) and Elizabeth Campbell (Amarillo) will be joined by their Unified Partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities) Savannah Bartlett (Canyon) and Rici Galdean (Amarillo), respectively, in the Unified Relay. The men’s side will be comprised of athletes Tyler Coats (Amarillo) and Joey Nakamura (Amarillo) and their Unified Partners Dillon Hughes (Amarillo) and Wyatt Garton (Amarillo). The team is coached by J’Nette Thorne. 

“The four Unified Partners were very excited about getting to run with the athletes and sometimes I had to have extra practices, because they were excited and wanted to see the Special Olympics athletes again,” Thorne said. “They have formed a bond and have made the lives of the athletes special.” 

“Special Olympics has played a huge part in my life and continues today,” Hughes said. “Ever since I can remember, I have been involved with Special Olympics and getting to know the athletes.  Running in this relay is almost like a dream come true, and competing with the athletes is an unforgettable experience.” 

The team will depart Amarillo for Philadelphia on Wednesday.  The two teams will compete in the 4x100m Relay on Friday and in the 100m dash on Saturday. 

The Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States, hosted annually since April 21, 1895 by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field.

Steve Helm – Public Relations Coordinator, Special Olympics Texas

800.876.5646, ext. 2925 (office); 267.421.3911 (cell – media only);

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 58,800 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 or call 800.876.5646.  Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas;;