THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — It was an amazing sight as Cal Lutheran student-athletes teamed up with Special Olympics Ventura County athletes on Tuesday night in Gilbert Arena. The event was held during Division III Week.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted the event. Around 30 or so CLU student-athletes and 30 Special Olympics athletes got together to play basketball, soccer and volleyball.
“It was an amazing night,” said SAAC President Christie Kurdys. “I felt that our Cal Lutheran athletes did a great job interacting with the Special Olympic athletes and I could tell by everyone’s smiles that they were having a lot of fun.”
The event gave the Special Olympics athletes the opportunity to play all three sports, taking turns conversing and competing with the Kingsmen and Regals. The student-athletes assisted the Special Olympic athletes with drills, training, and games.
"I've always had a special place in my heart for Special Olympics,” said SAAC Vice President Tyler Lozano. “It has touched me since day one and I'm glad I could get the right people together to make this all work! A night to remember."
The event started with warm-ups as all athletes started on the basketball base line. They ran up to half court, doing a drill, and then jogged back to the base line. After that, the Special Olympic athletes were divided up into three different groups as they moved around and took turns playing all three sports.
After a short break with snacks and drinks, the athletes then got put into teams, chose a team name, and competed against one another in all three sports.
“Special Olympics has always been special to me for many reasons,” said Kurdys. “What these kids have accomplished despite their conditions is truly inspiring and I’m glad SAAC was able to host this kind of event for them.”
The Cal Lutheran student-athletes were represented by a variety of sports. The smiles from all athletes and observers showed just how much an event like this can make an impact in someone’s life.
Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director