18 Jackson County Athletes Participate in Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games


TERRE HAUTE — A gold, silver or bronze medal has been placed around the necks of the top three finishers in various events in nine sports at the Indiana Special Olympics Summer Games.

After that, it was highly likely that they would wear it for the rest of the day and beyond.

Such was the case last weekend as programs from across the state converged on Terre Haute for the nonprofit’s largest annual competition.

Jackson County’s Dennis England and Donald Bennethum both won gold in their horseshoes division at Collett Park on Saturday.

England played the same competitor twice and had two close games.

“Other times I took second or third place. Never the first,” he said after winning a gold medal.

When asked if he was going to wear his medal every day now, he smiled and replied, “Pretty much.

“I really enjoyed myself,” England said.

Bennethum was also proud of his horseshoe performance and said he would hang his gold medal in his bedroom at home.

At Indiana State University’s Gibson Track and Field Complex, Jackson County had 13 athletes competing.

David Perrin won a double medal, taking first place in his division in the 50-meter power walk for a gold medal and second in the softball throw for a silver medal. For the walk, he was joined by Ashley Burkhart.

“He is very proud. He won’t take them off,” she said of Perrin wearing his Summer Games medals along with the two he won at the May 14 Zone 2 meet at Salem High School.

Track and field athletes had to compete in a regional meet to qualify to compete in the Summer Games. Jackson County also had athletes competing in horseshoes and bocce, but none of those have a qualifying event. They simply submit qualifying scores from a practice and compete in the Summer Games.

In track and field, which ran from Friday to Sunday, Jackson County won a double gold medal from Derrick Martin. He placed first in the 50-meter walk and softball throw.

Christina Wright also won two gold medals in assisted wheelchair racing and wheelchair slalom.

Ivy Trimble, meanwhile, won gold in the 50-meter power walk and silver in the softball throw, Christa Birge won gold in the tennis ball throw and silver in the 25-meter power walk, Lucinda Rutan won gold in the unassisted 50 meters. walking and bronze in the softball throw, Charla Richards received bronze in the tennis ball throw and Nevaeh Ackeret won gold in the 400 metres.

The other silver medalists were Becky Klosterman in the 50-meter walk, Rob Smith in the mini javelin and 400-meter walk, Alysha Sandlin in the 800-meter walk, Owen Law in the mini javelin, Ackeret in the 100 – and 200 meter dashes and his sister, Haley Ackeret, in the 100 meter dash.

The third-place bronze medalists were Law in the 100 meters and Haley Ackeret in the 200 meters.

Fourth through eighth place finishers received ribbons for their efforts. For Jackson County, Sandlin was fourth in the mini javelin throw, Klosterman was sixth in the mini javelin throw and Law was eighth in the 200 yards.

In Horseshoe, the other contender from Jackson County was Thomas Emly. He placed second in his division and won a silver medal.

In bocce, Dale Hickman and Tim Ashburn won by forfeit in their opening match early Friday afternoon when their competitors failed to show up. Then early Saturday morning they played the gold medal game against Putnam County. Hickman and Ashburn scored the first three points but gave up the next 12, so they were awarded silver medals.

In total, Jackson County received 11 gold medals, 14 silver medals, four bronze medals, one fourth place ribbon, one sixth place ribbon, and one eighth place ribbon.

These were the 52nd Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games, bringing together nearly 3,000 unified athletes and partners representing 50 delegations to compete in a variety of Olympic-style sports, which also included bowling, cycling, powerlifting, swimming, volleyball and, for the first time, football. .

The three-day event was made possible through the contributions of over 1,500 volunteers, sponsors and donors. Thousands of coaches, chaperones and spectators also took part in the Summer Games, making the event a celebration of the Special Olympics spirit.

The association is aimed at people with mental disabilities from the age of 8. The 18 Jackson County athletes at the Summer Games ranged in age from 10 to 65.

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