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Local Special Olympians place in Outdoor Sports Festival

Published: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Three local athletes were recognized at the state level for their golf skills during the 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outdoor Sports Festival held in Decatur over the weekend.

Athletes participated in golf and softball during the event, which drew more than 600 Special Olympians from throughout the state for the two-day tournament.

Thomas Hollman of Geneva took third place in the Golf Individual Skills competition; Anthony R. Englin of Batavia was in second place in the Golf 9-Hole competition; and Adam K. Baglayan of South Elgin took third place in the Golf 5-Hole competition.

Some Special Olympians from Illinois qualified for the national championship games, which will take place summer 2014 in New Jersey, said Amy Kaylor, manager of sports and competition for this area’s Special Olympics Illinois branch.

In the golf competition, judges focused on skills and performance in a traditional golf game.

Some athletes participated in a unified competition, which pairs Special Olympians with a nondisabled athlete and combines their scores. Softball games test general skills, T-ball and performance in a traditional softball game.

“Our guys are really busy,” Kaylor said of the area’s athletes. “Right now, they’re finishing up the volleyball season, and in the meantime, basketball season is right around the corner.”

She said Special Olympians also are preparing for winter games, such as downhill skiing and snow-shoeing.

In addition to upcoming sports seasons, Special Olympics Illinois is hosting the Pumpkin Pedal, a fundraiser for the organization Oct. 6. Kaylor said bike riders don’t have to race to be a part of the event, which starts goes from 7:30 to 10 a.m., with lunch provided after. Bikers can choose from a 10-, 20- or 28-mile course along the Great Western Trail, starting at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve off of Dean Street in St. Charles. A 40-mile and 65-mile ride also will be available.

For information about the Pumpkin Pedal, visit www.pumpkinpedal.eventbrite.com.

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