by Al Stover
Over 650 athletes from various parts of Washington came to Roos Field to take part in the East Region Spring Games, hosted by Special Olympics Washington May 5.
Athletes competed in track and field events as well as weight lifting, cycling and aquatic events.
For East Region Sports and Programs Manager Jill Ives, the games are the excitement of the spring season.
“It’s a lot of work going in to prepare for this day,” said Ives. “When we finally get to see the athletes competing and the volunteers [and] experiencing what our athletes are accomplishing, it’s a great experience.”
Sarah Fullan won a gold medal in her running event. Fullan credited her win to her training.
“[Running] is hard on the joints, but you have to get used to it after awhile,” Fullan said. “I [also practice] good nutrition and take care of myself.”
Prior to the competition at Roos Field, athletes participated at the Healthy Athletes venue where they were fitted for shoes donated by Runner’s Soul, given toothbrushes and blood pressure tests and observed the opening ceremonies.
In addition to the athletes, there were over 200 volunteers, some of which were from different EWU clubs and athletics including the women’s basketball team.
“It’s a good experience,” said women’s basketball player Lexi Nelson. “We have fun with it and we’re glad we can be here to help.”
There were also EWU athletic trainers on the sidelines. Senior Katelyn Hill had volunteered at the games last year. For the 2012 games, Hill enjoyed seeing the athletes get a chance to show their talents and a chance to gain some experience.
“I taped an ankle earlier, but other than that, we’ve been pretty clear,” HIll said.
Competitors who earned gold medals in their events move on to the Summer Games June 1-3.
Ives is thankful for the support the games and the athletes have received from the EWU community who volunteered.
“Without the athletics, the fraternities and sororities, we wouldn’t be able to make this possible,” Ives said.