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Polson Pirates crush it at Special Olympics

MISSOULA – A sea of purple and smiles lined the track in support of the Polson Pirate Special Olympic team in Missoula on Wednesday, April 20, as student athletes finally got their chance to compete after weeks of practicing. 

Special Education Teacher and Assistant Coach Melesa Butler was more than happy seeing her competitors get personal bests.

“These kids put in a lot of work. We have been practicing every Friday since January,” Butler said. “Just seeing how excited they get knowing they have the opportunity to participate and compete is awesome.”

Butler, who was waiting at the finish line as athletes completed their races, said that many of these students overcome something during the weeks leading up to the Special Olympics. 

“We had one student who had never swum and wouldn’t go into water above their waist,” Butler said. “After three practices, that athlete was swimming the full length of the pool … it was incredible.”

The Polson Pirates competed in track, bocce ball, and swimming throughout the Special Olympics event. One of these athletes was freshman Rakeena Caye, who dominated the track. 

“Track is really hard sometimes,” Caye said. “The hardest part is getting ready, and the distance.”

Caye placed third in both the 100-meter walk and 50-meter run. Other athletes that took command of the tar were Victoria Niblack and Martin Schlensker, who both placed first in the 100-meter and 50-meter run; Cody Merritt, who placed first in the 25 meter walk; and Fayth Loveless, who placed first in the 10 meter assisted walk and 25 meter walk. Schlensker qualified for State, which will take place in Missoula starting Tuesday, May 17. 

Junior Jenna Evertz assisted the athletes. Evertz said she has enjoyed helping kids in special education since she was in middle school. 

“It is important to share this experience with these kids,” Evertz said. “These kids work hard just like any other athlete … there is no difference in my eyes.”

Evertz wanted the entire Polson High School student body to be a part of Special Olympics that she put together a pep bus for students in good standing. The students got the chance to spend the day with and support the Polson Pirate Special Olympic team. 

“I decided that these kids should receive the cheering section they deserve,” Evertz said. “They are always at our sporting events, so I wanted to return the favor.”

There were many people helping the Polson Pirates and Anne Loveless, mother of one of the athletes, was all smiles watching the Polson community come support.

“This is an amazing opportunity for all kids to see what these athletes go through during a competition,” Loveless said. “It is so special to me, especially because I know that my daughter has friends cheering her on.”

 

Special Olympics Montana Spring Games 2016 Results

Polson Pirates:

John Bakerstreet

Aquatics 25 m Floatation Race – 2nd

Track and Field 100 m Walk – 2nd

Track and Field 50 m Run – 3rd

Bocce Doubles – 2nd

Rakeena Caye

Aquatics 25 m Freestyle – 3rd

Track and Field 100 m Run – 3rd

Track and Field 50 m Run – 3rd

Bocce Doubles – 2nd

Fayth Loveless

Track and Field Softball Throw – 3rd

Track and Field 10 m Assisted Walk – 1st

Track and Field 25 m Walk – 1st

Rochelle Farnsworth

Aquatics 25 m Floatation Race – 1st

Track and Field 100 m Walk – 1st

Track and Field 50 m Run – 3rd

Bocce Team – 2nd

Aiden Finley

Aquatics 25 m Backstroke – 1st

Aquatics 25 m Freestyle – 1st 

Track and Field Standing Long Jump – 2nd 

Chance Hoover

Aquatics 25 m Backstroke – 3rd

Track and Field 50 m Run – 2nd

Track and Field Standing Long Jump – 1st

Bocce Team – 2nd

Dothan Stene

Aquatics 50 m Freestyle – 3rd

Track and Field 100 m Run – 3rd

Track and Field Standing Long Jump – 3rd

Bocce Team – 2nd

Montana Susoeff

Aquatics 50 m Freestyle – 1st

Track and Field 100 m Run – 2nd

Track and Field Standing Long Jump – 1st

Bocce Team – 2nd

Christopher Alexander

Aquatics 50 m Freestyle – 2nd

Track and Field 1500 m Run – 3rd

Track and Field Softball throw – 1st

Bocce Team – 2nd

Robert “Robbie” Hayes

Aquatics 25 m Freestyle – 2nd

Track and Field 50 m Run – 4th

Track and Field Softball Throw – 1st

Bocce Team – 2nd

Kiya Kelly

Aquatics 10 m Assisted Swim – 3rd 

Aquatics 15 m Flotation Race – 2nd 

Track and Field 10 m Assisted Walk – 3rd 

Track and Field Softball Throw – 1st 

Paul Nield

Track and Field 200 m Run – 2nd

Track and Field Softball Throw – 1st

Track and Field Standing Long Jump – 4th

Bocce Team – 2nd

Middle School:

Kyler Gage 

Track and Field 100 m Run – 2nd

Track and Field 50 m Run – 3rd

Track and Field Long Jump – 2nd

Track and Field Standing Long Jump – 1st 

Max Huber

Track and Field 100 m Assisted Walk – 1st

Track and Field 25 m Walk – 3rd

Track and Field Softball Throw – 5th

Track and Field Standing Long Jump – 1st

Kaidence MacKay

Aquatics 10 m Assisted Swim – 4th

Track and Field 10 m Assisted Walk – 1st

Track and Field 25 m Walk – 2nd

Track and Field Softball Throw – 3rd

Cody Merritt

Aquatics 10 m Assisted Swim – 1st

Aquatics 15 m Aquatic Walk – 3rd

Track and Field 25 m Walk – 1st

Track and Field Softball Throw – 3rd

Victoria Niblack

Aquatics 25 m Floatation Race – 2nd

Track and Field 100 m Run – 1st

Track and Field 50 m Run – 1st

Track and Field Softball Throw – 1st

Martin Schlensker – Middle School State Qualifier

Aquatics 25 m Freestyle – 4th

Track and Field 100 m Run – 1st

Track and Field 50 m Run – 1st

Track and Field Softball Throw – 2nd

 

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