Long jump

Isaiah Lyons, 16, a freshman at Temple High School, competes Friday in the long jump during the first event of the Special Olympics at Wildcat Stadium in Temple.

With cooperating weather at Wildcat Stadium on Friday morning, students and teachers had a field day at this year’s Special Olympics Track Meet.

“It is a fun day for us,” Melanie Johnson, Special Olympics coordinator for Temple Independent School District, said. “We are happy that the high school supports us in this effort and parents are always supportive of it and attend as well.”

The district-wide event was from 9 a.m. to noon with about 50 participants from Thornton Elementary, Bonham Middle School and Temple High School who competed in track and field events that focused on running, jumping and throwing.

“There is the standing long jump and running long jump,” she said. “Then we have the softball throw and the tennis ball throw.”

Olympians shifted over to the track for the 50-, 100- and 200-meter races and finished with relay races.

“Some walk and some run depending on their abilities,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the event is typically held earlier in the spring, but testing this year pushed it back.

Kiunna Oliver, one of the Special Olympians and senior at Temple High School, was all smiles at the track after competing in the standing long jump.

“I competed in this last year also,” she said. “I did good.”

But it’s not the competition part of the event that she looks forward to.

“I love having all my friends here,” she said.

Adrian Ramirez, the Student Council sponsor at Temple High School, said this year about 75 students from the high school helped out with the track and field events.

“Every year Student Council orchestrates the event,” he said. “If you look all around you have students running the show.”

Ramirez said his students looked forward to the event every year because while it may help increase their leadership skills, it is an important way to support and take part in the Special Olympics.

“You can look around and there are smiles on everyone’s faces because they really get into it,” he said. “They also want to share in the good fun and everything the Special Olympics stands for.”

A brief award ceremony took place following the events with ribbons and medals that were handed out to participants.

On May 24, the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run will begin at Wildcat Stadium with Temple Police officers carrying the “Flame of Hope” throughout the neighborhood.

The torch run will kick off the Special Olympic Texas Summer Games that will take place in Arlington from May 26-29. The Heart of Texas area, which is made up of 12 counties including Bell, has a total of 76 athletes competing out of the more than 3,000 total athletes statewide.