Special Olympics celebrates abilities

80 athletes compete in tournament held at Illinois College

By Kyla Hurt
Photos/Marcy Patterson

According to soill.org, “Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) is in all 102 counties, serving athletes in every corner of the state.

“It is organized into 11 geographic regions, each with its own team to implement SOILL programming at the local level. Athletes compete at their region qualifier and those earning a gold medal may advance to the next level of competition which in most cases is the state championships.

“The region team is made up of several individuals depending on the size of the region. Each region has a region director that oversees all aspects of region programming. Additional team members are charged with sports programming or fundraising campaigns along with outreach, communication and education initiatives. These 11 region teams make up the majority of the program services department.”

The SOILL Region H Basketball Senior Teams and Skills Competition took place at Illinois College’s Bruner Center on Sunday, February 4. Region H hosted this qualifier for both Region H and Region F.

Region H provides programming for people in the counties of Adams, Brown, Cass, Greene, Mason, Menard, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler and Scott counties.

Region F provides programming for people in the counties of Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Rock Island, Stark and Warren.

“There were 20 teams and 80 individual skills participants, so we had about 350 participants total,” said SOILL Director of Region H Lynde Pavich.

The division is officially called senior mens division, but anyone age 23 or above can play in the senior division teams — as long as that person would like to play. Other age levels participated however, as the age 23 minimum is based on the oldest person on the team. Skilled athletes, though, are all age levels.

Anyone who received a gold medal for their team or individual skilled athletes performance will advance to the SOILL State Competition for 2024 in Bloomington March 8, 9 and 10.

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