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SPECIAL OLYMPICS: Athletes brighten gloomy day at annual event

Times-Tribune - 5/17/2018

May 17--MOSCOW -- Noel Good took off in the sprint dash and ran as fast as she could to sounds of support from the hundreds who jam-packed into North Pocono Middle School gymnasium.

As she neared the finish line, Noel, wearing a broad smile with every stride, leaped into the arms of aide Karen Vancosky for a twirling hug.

Then, the 10-year-old Mayfield Elementary student who has Down syndrome sought out her dad, Joe. Once she spotted him, Noel ran just as quickly up the bleachers into a welcoming bear hug.

She, like the more than 350 athletes who competed at the Area P Special Olympics, couldn't have been happier.

On a damp and dreary day, the endless smiles, hugs and abundance of love provided all the moments of joy to those who were inside putting their athletic talents on display Wednesday at the annual competition sponsored by NEIU 19.

"Unfortunately, weather had a big part as to why we were inside," said Keith Toolan, Area P Special Olympics Coordinator. "But rain or shine, the kids were having a blast and there were a lot of smiles on their faces."

Organizers worked hard to make this a memorable experience for all of the athletes, family members and teachers from the various schools.

Through their efforts, the kids were able to enjoy various make-shift events, including a softball throw, a 50-yard dash and the broad jump.

After their events, the competitors proudly received their blue ribbons.

"It was all about the athletes having fun," Toolan said. "They were still competing and having a blast winning their ribbons."

Tux, mascot of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins, was on hand to cheer on the Olympians and EJ "The DJ" Dougher provided the music.

North Pocono students who volunteered their time to help organize the events, encourage the athletes, and were giving support for what turned out to be a rewarding day.

"This is the best day of the year as a staff member and for the kids and the kids at our high school who volunteer," North Pocono superintendent Bryan McGraw said. "We did not want to make this a bad day for the kids, so we moved it indoors.

"I cannot say enough about the staff of the NEIU and everybody who contributed to make this such a great experience for the kids."

Contact the writer:

jbfawcett@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9125;

@sportsTT on Twitter


(c)2018 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.)

Visit The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.) at thetimes-tribune.com

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