“I saw some of our local Special Olympics athletes playing and I really enjoyed how much they were enjoying practicing,” he said. “I took the idea to the group and everybody was on board. They all agreed we should be doing something like this. We took the idea and ran with it.”
While some of the athletes compete in the Special Olympics, it allows them to represent their school similar to athletes on traditional sports teams, Comstock said.
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“Our kids that are going to be competing are some of the kids with the most school spirit we have, they’re always at our events in our (student section) cheering and enjoying sports,” Comstock said. “To me, it’s great opportunity to give them a chance to be the stars for a day.”
The event will begin with a parade of teams carrying school flags around the stadium’s track followed by the playing of the National Anthem.
The games will include seven different events — the 100-meter dash, Basketball Hot Shot, Softball Home Run Derby, Frisbee Toss, Soccer Goal Kick, Bean Bag Toss and Football Target Toss — broken down into three 40-minute periods. Each athlete can compete in up to three different events. It will also include lunch donated by Easton Water Solutions of Bellefontaine and an awards ceremony.
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Traditional students will also serve as coaches for the event, Comstock said.
“They’ll have a one-on-one cheerleader/coach/person who helps get them where they need to be,” he said.
Shawnee sophomore Thomas Marshall, who won two gold medals at the 2017 Ohio Special Olympics Winter Games in the 1000 and 1500-meter speed skating, is both excited and nervous for the Cup.
“I do cross country all the time and it’s fun,” Marshall said. “I just love sports. I love competition.”
Senior Ellie Brouhard is serving as a coach at the event for the Braves.
“It’s a privilege for the other athletes to go with them and be able to motivate and support them throughout their activities,” she said.
The event could become an annual occurrence, Comstock said, and may eventually move to different schools in the conference.
“Even if there’s a few bumps this time, we’ll iron those out and keep moving forward with it,” he said.
The Cup is a great chance to students compete, said Brooklyn Wood, a junior at Shawnee. She’ll be competing in the 100-meter dash, the Soccer Free Kick and Softball Home Run Derby. She’s competed in 5K runs with her family in the past and is excited to represent her school, she said.
“It gives people a good opportunity,” Wood said. “Some kids that can’t do this kind of stuff are able to go out and do it. I’m also excited to get out of school for a day.”