Connections made at Hardin-Simmons University's Special Olympics Day

Special Olympics Day at HSU

ABILENE, Texas -- Special Olympians and Hardin-Simmons University student-athletes fought through a windy morning to connect at Special Olympics Day on Tuesday at HSU.

The track and field event brought nearly 200 Special Olympians from around the Big Country together with about 100 athletes from all of HSU's sports.

"It's a time to share our love for our sports with them, and it's a time to create a special bond with the athletes through our sports," said Allison Kuster, a HSU junior volleyball player and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee .

The HSU athletes helped work the various events including long jump, shot put, javelin and running events.

"I really appreciate all the Hardin-Simmons University teams," Abilene High junior and Special Olympian Marty Patten said. "They put a lot of effort into it, and a lot of hard work."

Youth from Snyder, Sweetwater, Abilene, Brownwood, Jim Ned, Brady and other schools, along with adult Special Olympian teams competed.

"I love running," said Patten. "It is awesome."

"My favorite part is the running," Kuster said. "To see all the athletes line up and encourage them as they run and to cheer them as they cross the finish line is a special moment."

Tuesday's event was a part of National Division III Week, which HSU and McMurry participate in. Every NCAA Division III school in the country is encouraged to take part in community outreach events to promote the positive opportunities that Division III athletics provide.

Special Olympics Day was a warm-up for the first official track and field competition on Saturday, April 28 at Wylie's Bulldog Stadium.

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