New Richmond Plays Host for Special Olympics

special olympics ohio logoThe Track and Field Meet for Clermont County Special Olympics is being held here at New Richmond High School Saturday, April 23, 2022. The meet starts at 9 a.m.

Athletes ages 2-7 will do a tennis ball throw and running events. Ages 8 and up will compete in running and field events including softball throw, long jump, shot put, and mini-javelin.

The event is open to anyone who is interested in coming out and supporting these young athletes. There’s no admission fee. Concessions will be available for purchase.

New Richmond Exempted Village School District has participated in the Special Olympics for over 40 years and will have students competing this year as well. New Richmond High School teacher Richard Mahan has been coaching Special Olympics for 20 of those years.

“It is extremely rewarding for me and a great opportunity for the athletes,” he said. 

This Clermont County meet was created by Rick and Sandy Denison who have been involved for 45 years, Mr. Mahan said. Sandy was a Special Education teacher at New Richmond High School and has since passed away. The Denisons wanted to provide more opportunities for the athletes to compete so they created this event for the county, he said.

The first county meet was held before the pandemic, and this will be the second for Clermont County, Mr. Mahan said. Both meets have been held at New Richmond. The athletes will compete again in a regional meet at Lakota the first week in May, and some will go on to the state games at Ohio State in late June.

“I love going to the State Games and consider it to be the best weekend of the year,” he said. “The athletes gain so much from this opportunity. New Richmond even has one student competing in the National games in Orlando this year. In early June. New Richmond has always supported their Special Olympic athletes and it is an awesome event.”

Locust Corner Elementary School physical education teacher and Special Olympics team coach, Tricia Nelson, said this will be her first major event with her LCE Special Olympics team. It’s not, however, her first involvement with the games.

“I was heavily involved in both Special Olympics and Paralympic Sport Clubs throughout my career before becoming a teacher in both Chicago and Washington D.C.,” she said. “So I am looking forward to getting back to my roots and seeing our students succeed in a community event. I usually only get to see them in school so it will be fun to be all together in a fun environment.

Monroe Elementary School Occupational Therapist Jenn Slone said that Monroe Elementary School has had teams participating in the Special Olympics for several years. The students even visited the high school track to prepare for Saturday's competition.

Like Mrs. Nelson, this will be Middle School Special Education Teacher Tony Peterson’s first year coaching the NRMS Special Olympics team but he is an experienced track coach. 

“I think it will have a huge impact on the self-esteem of the athletes,” he said of the event. “They rarely get to compete in athletic events and win awards.”

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