Special Olympics Washington and Eastern Washington University Athletics Announce Partnership

EWU has hosted several Special Olympics events on campus the last several weeks

Special Olympics-Spokane Development Director Matt McCoy and Eastern Washington University Athletics Director Bill Chaves have announced a partnership that will connect their respective organizations.

"This partnership will allow our 325 student-athletes the opportunity to use their talents to volunteer, connect and mentor the many wonderful events that Special Olympics has to offer, especially the ones already in Cheney," Chaves said. "Our University as a whole already supports this special endeavor but this will allow us as a unit to create a bond with these special athletes."

In addition to connecting its student-athletes to Special Olympics Washington (SOWA), Eastern athletics also plans to provide special ticket rates for Special Olympic athletes and their families to Eagle football, men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball contests as well as recognizing a Special Olympic athlete of the game at as many of the aforementioned home events as possible.

"We're thrilled to partner with Eastern Washington University's athletic department," McCoy said. "Special Olympics Washington athletes will ultimately benefit from the support and volunteer work of these collegiate athletes."

Close to 1,000 athletes of all ages competed in Special Olympics events held at Eastern Washington University in May.  On May 2, the East Regional Special Olympic Spring Games were held at EWU with almost 800 athletes from throughout eastern Washington competing in track and field, bicycling, swimming and other events.  Numerous student-athletes from EWU and other local colleges worked as volunteers, a tradition that has happened at this event for many years.

On May 8, Special Olympics teams from local schools competed at Woodward Field in a new track and field event.  Schools from Cheney, Spokane, Cusick, Chewelah and Deer Park participated in this new event that is expected to grow as more schools participate in future years.

Mayor Allan Gainer from the City of Cheney opened the games with Chaves in attendance.  Athletes Bryce and Marlon Barlow from Cheney presented the colors in the Opening Ceremony with athlete Scott Tobin from the Cheney Speedsters leading the athletes in the Athlete's Oath.  Eastern student-athlete Brandon Moore from the men's basketball team led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance while long-time local Special Olympics coach Reggie Smith did the Official's Oath.

The next event for area Special Olympic athletes is the statewide Summer Games competition scheduled for May 29-31 at Ft. Lewis in Pierce County.  Athletes who qualified at the East Regional Spring Games at EWU are eligible to compete but many area athletes will travel to Ft. Lewis to cheer on their teammates whether they qualified or not.  For more information on the Summer Games visit www.sowa.org.


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