HACKETTSTOWN, NJ – For the first time athletes represented Sparta High School at the New Jersey Special Olympics Track and Field competition at Hackettstown High School last month.
The Spartan team went on to medal in many events at the regional event. The team was coached by Sparta High School educators Tina Johnson, Jennifer Schock and Monica Wall and a group of staff volunteers.
A number of Sparta High School students volunteered during the track season to help the athletes prepare. Angela Elzind, Alexis Faria, Noah Faria, Chris Hwang, Grace Russo and William Stoddard all worked with the athletes along with other students who helped out during their physical education classes, according to Wall.
“You could hear them running in the hallways during the winter months while snow coated the outdoor track," Wall said. When the weather allowed they went out to the track.
“When the big day came, it was obvious how loved our athletes are,” Schock said.
When they got to Hackettstown High School to compete, the athletes had support from family as well as staff members from across the district, according to Wall.
“Everyone came ready to spend the day cheering for these inspirational athletes,” Wall said.
“It was amazing to see the team spirit and wonderful sportsmanship displayed by each Spartan Athlete during what is slated to be the first of many Special Olympics events,” Johnson said.
Throughout the course of the day’s events, Sparta athletes and volunteers were running along the sideline cheering for their teammates as well as other athletes. According to Wall, the athletes brought home four gold medals and two bronze medals in individual events as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay.
The Sparta Special Olympics Track team is already setting their sights on next season. The coaches are currently discussing the addition of field events including the high jump and javelin.
“We are hoping to expand the team and look forward to adding new volunteers next season,” Wall said.