News Article Details

St. Francis to host Special Olympics spring sectional

Tribune-Democrat - 4/18/2019

April 18-- Apr. 18--For the 31st consecutive year, St. Francis University will host Special Olympics Pennsylvania's central spring sectional April 28, when approximately 359 athletes and 149 coaches from 16 counties will gather at the Loretto campus to compete in basketball, track and field, swimming and tennis.

The sectional will kick off with opening ceremonies held in the university's DeGol Arena from 9 to 9:30 a.m., with competitions beginning at 9:45 and continue through 4:15 p.m.

All competitions take place at the university except athletics and tennis, which will be held at Central Cambria High School and Ebensburg Tennis Center, respectively.

Olympic-style award ceremonies for individual and team events will be ongoing throughout the day.

The event is a joint effort between the university and Special Olympics Pennsylvania, and is managed by students under the guidance of staff advisers. More than 400 St. Francis students will be volunteering during the event, many of them members of the university's NCAA Division I teams and the occupational and physical therapy departments.

"Special Olympics holds a special place in the hearts of everyone involved," said Cecelia Pisano, event director and St. Francis junior majoring in accounting and finance.

"This event gives the opportunity for athletes throughout Pennsylvania to compete in the sports they are passionate about. There will be no shortage of excitement shown by the faces of athletes lighting up and by the sheer number of volunteers and supporters cheering them on."

Lisa Georgiana, director of the Center for Service & Learning and co-adviser for the event, said the community partnership is a mutually beneficial one for students, Special Olympics Pennsylvania and Special Olympics athletes.

"Our student leadership team has been working collaboratively with Special Olympics Pennsylvania to plan the event," she said.

"It is a true team effort. Everyone wins."

Sectional events require volunteers to serve as officials, athlete escorts, award presenters and in other various roles.

To register as a volunteer, visit www.specialolympicspa.org.

For more information about the sectional, contact Teresa Amaturo, Central Competition director, at 610-630-9450, ext. 238 or tamaturo@specialolympicspa.org.

Jocelyn Brumbaugh is a reporter for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @JBrumbaughTD.

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