Athletes showcase talents at Princeton

by | May 16, 2019 | Sports

Huddleston’s Art Club made signs for students to use to cheer on the athletes during Special Olympics.Pictured are back row from left, Jalissa Radway, Mary Serrano-Delgado, Celia Huitron, Favour Mutagha, Lexie Hester and Reagan Strickland; front row, Rebekah Sorrell and Alexis Garcia. (Jean Ann Collins/PISD Communications)

In typical Olympic fashion, the recent Special Olympics track and field meet in Princeton kicked off with the athletes wearing their team colors and marching around the track behind spectacular pageantry provided by the PHS color guard and drumline.

According to Special Olympics coach and Life Skills teacher at Huddleston, Stacy Davis, Princeton has talked about coordinating a meet for years, but decided it was time to make it happen.

“We are hoping this is the first of several years to come,” Davis said. “We were excited to have the support we received from our administration to host such an event. This shows our support for our Special Olympics athletes in our local, quickly expanding community.”

In its inaugural year, Princeton hosted teams from 11 schools, including Bland, Community, Denison, Lovejoy, Melissa, Paris, Sherman, Terrell and Wolfe City. In all, there were more than 100 athletes and nearly 100 coaches in attendance.

Davis said the athletes were thrilled to be on their home turf.

“They were excited to compete at home where their parents were able to come support them,” she said. “And they got to compete with many peers from nearby schools. They were also excited to have the band and local peers come out to cheer them on.”

These cheerleader/volunteers included students from across the district. Huddleston’s I Care Club and FCA were on hand. Clark sent its Student Council and National Jr. Honor Society members, while PHS supplied volunteers from PALs, track, career prep and softball. The A/V students made the event come to life on the scoreboard through their videos, while the band’s drumline, color guard and trumpet corps led the processional and played the National Anthem.

Local dignitaries Mayor John Mark Caldwell and Lisa Caldwell, who serves on the school board, were there to welcome athletes and help lead in the pledge and Special Olympics oath.

“I had a coach who once told me that champions are those who never quit,” Mayor Caldwell said. “So everyone here are champions.”

Lisa added, “Special Olympics shows it doesn’t matter who crosses the finish line first or jumps higher or runs faster. What matters is what’s in your heart, so you are all winners today.”

It was all hands on deck as volunteers were needed to run each track and field event. Field events included softball throw, tennis ball throw, long jump, shot put and javelin throw. Track events included walks and runs in various distances from 10 meters to 400 meters.

The track events also included wheelchair compatible options, as well as races that included athletes who needed assistance. Typically the most exciting event, the 4×100 relay, capped the day’s activities.

“We were there to make sure things ran smoothly,” said volunteer Clayton Blackmon, a PHS junior track athlete who helped with the javelin throw. “We had to mark and measure each throw so we could determine the medalists.”

Clayton was also the man behind the mask as he suited up as the Panther mascot to entertain the Special Olympians throughout the day.

“I really enjoyed making the participating students happy by being there,” Clayton said.

Junior Pal Kennedy Cotton also enjoyed her time volunteering for the Special Olympics meet.

“We were there to cheer and help distribute medals,” Kennedy said. “But the best thing was being involved to help them have fun. It was really fun to see them compete. They almost always need assistance, so seeing them in this environment getting so excited to do things on their own was inspiring.”

By Jean Ann Collins • Contributing Writer • [email protected]

For more stories like this subscribe in print or online.

0 Comments

Related News

Lady Panthers improve to 3-1 in district

Lady Panthers improve to 3-1 in district

The Princeton Lady Panthers continued their hot start in district competition after beating The Colony 48-39 on Tuesday night. Both teams kept it close through the first two quarters, with Princeton leading 14-12 after one quarter. However, it was The Colony who took...

read more
Princeton edges out The Colony

Princeton edges out The Colony

District 10-5A competition resumed after its brief hiatus for the holidays. After losing their opening district contest to Lovejoy, Princeton bounced back and edged out a 50-48 overtime victory against The Colony on Tuesday Jan. 4. Princeton had to mount a comeback...

read more
Princeton sports year in review

Princeton sports year in review

Princeton High School experienced highs and lows during the 2021 sports season. PHS teams recorded several district titles, postseason awards, state medalists and long playoff runs despite a year peppered with cancellations due to the pandemic and unforeseen...

read more
Panthers fall to Lovejoy

Panthers fall to Lovejoy

The Princeton boys basketball team lost their district opener to Lovejoy 69-54. They kept it close early on, leading by two points at the end of the first quarter. Lovejoy outscored Princeton 19-12 in the second quarter and led 31-26 at halftime. The Leopards extended...

read more
Princeton pushing for growth in 2022

Princeton pushing for growth in 2022

After two seasons without an experienced roster, the Princeton boys soccer team is growing and maturing. Now with a team packed with junior and senior players, this year may be different. PHS coach Kent Ackmann said he is excited to see that maturity lead to more...

read more
Lady Panthers defeat Lovejoy

Lady Panthers defeat Lovejoy

In their final game before the holiday break, the Lady Panthers defeated Lovejoy 51-38 to earn their second straight district win. They got off to a slow start early on, trailing 10-8 at the end of the first quarter. Princeton tied it up at halftime 21-21 after...

read more
Lady Panthers ready for playoff push

Lady Panthers ready for playoff push

The Princeton girls soccer team enters the 2022 campaign with renewed confidence despite their recent struggles. They will begin play Jan. 3 at Farmersville in the Battle of 380. Pre-district tournaments on this year’s schedule include the Princeton Cup Jan. 13-15 and...

read more
Lady Panthers lose to McKinney North

Lady Panthers lose to McKinney North

In their district opener, the Lady Panthers can't overcome a slow start as they lose 61-47 to McKinney North Tuesday night. Princeton struggled to score in the first quarter, being held to nine points. Meanwhile, McKinney North led by 10 points at the end of the...

read more
Lady Panthers lose to Krum

Lady Panthers lose to Krum

The Lady Panthers lost their final pre-district game in overtime Friday night. They built a 27-23 lead at halftime after finding success with their transition defense. Krum bounced back in the third quarter, outscoring Princeton 12-4 to build a four-point...

read more
Lady Panthers finish third in national tournament

Lady Panthers finish third in national tournament

The Lady Panthers traveled to El Paso last weekend to compete in the McDonald’s Classic Tournament. Unlike their previous tournaments, Princeton (7-7) had the opportunity to face teams from across the nation, including the top girls basketball recruits. They opened...

read more