Special Olympics Organization Takes on Track & Field!

Jenni Young, Staff Writer

After a successful and unifying season of basketball following bowling, the Special Olympics coaches for the Issaquah area have decided to start a track team! Made up of students from around the Issaquah area, whether students from IHS or not, they come together every Monday and Thursday for practice at the IMS track. Currently, they are not anticipating to compete in any meets, but rather to introduce the students to the sport and make some lasting friendships and fun memories as a team.

On April 7, the team gathered for a Thursday practice in the extremely sunny weather. They engaged in some small talk before officially starting practice, excited for practice and eager to talk to their peers. I saw several adults there including the coach, all actively helping to support the athletes. Before practice began, freshman Ray Fricke shared some of his favorite parts about the track team. By talking with both him and his mom, I learned that Fricke does a little bit of everything, but he especially loves running long distance in cross country and track.

They officially started the practice by walking and jogging around the track. The coach made sure to remind them to take water breaks to stay hydrated in the extremely warm weather. The athletes showed extreme persistence as they continued to work with positive attitudes, despite the hot weather. After their warmup, the coach started them with shot put, teaching them good form. They clap for each other as they individually try each event. They cheered loudly as Ray did his long jump, shouting, “Let’s go Ray!” It was inspiring to see each of these athletes building one another up with genuine enthusiasm and support. A lot of these athletes are still getting to know each other because they do not all attend the same school but are becoming close friends fast. Sophomore athlete Tessa Nickerson says that this is her first time ever doing track and continues to exclaim that she’s becoming friends with her teammates Cade McDougall and Lauren McCabe.

This is precisely what the track team is all about. Coach Jay Thrash states that he hopes track will be “something for them to do outside of school structure where they can work as a team, a good social experience.” It’s evident that Thrash’s goals are being met when these students work together and develop unity and new skills each and every practice.

All in all, this track program is off to a great start and is helping the LRC II students at our school build a better community with their fellow athletes and coaches.