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Local athletes compete in Special Olympics snowshoe event

POLSON – Athletes from around Mission Valley came to Polson Monday, Feb. 26, for the first inaugural Special Olympics Winter Invitational. Teams from Polson, Ronan, Charlo and Mission met at the snow-covered Polson High School football field to test their snowshoeing prowess.

Athletes competed in 25, 50 and 100-meter snowshoe races and a 4×100-meter relay. More than 60 volunteers and 97 competitors braved brisk temperatures in a morning of exciting races.

“I thought it went spectacular,” said Kris Kelly, local program coordinator for the Special Olympics team. “I loved the enthusiasm. Encouragement and motivation towards other athletes was super impressive.”

Monday’s snowshoe race was part of Unified Peers, a Special Olympics program in which general education and special education students play sports together and take part in social activities. 

“I love being part of Special Olympics because athletes can be involved from 8-88 years old,” Kelly said. “It gives students and adults a way to stay connected to friends, social groups, and keeps them active throughout the whole year.” 

Medals and ribbons were presented to the snowshoers by members of the Polson Police and Lake County Sheriff departments. 

“You always leave a Special Olympics event with a huge smile on your face, sore ribs from laughing, and a feeling of love,” noted Kelly. 

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