INSIDE SOSC: Fantastic Finishes at Summer Games

More than 1,100 athletes were determined to put forth their strongest effort at Special Olympics Southern California’s 2018 Summer Games last weekend at Cal State Long Beach.

The competition at the 2018 #SummerGames had the crowds on their feet during the  games and with a sore throat after. Split-second finishes, one-point contests and top-notch sportsmanship once again dominated the Games. The smallest of differences sometimes determined a gold or silver medal, silver or bronze, or a medal versus a ribbon.

There were 578 events (236 swimming events, 216 track and field, 76 bocce and 50 basketball) that led to the distribution of 467 gold medals.

Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights from last week:

Basketball (complete results)

Basketball featured 50 games in two days on five courts in two different buildings. Seven divisions battled it out, including Long Beach Warriors who enjoyed home court as they edged out Downey to claim gold in the purple division.

In the blue division, the Central Riverside Warriors averaged more than 32 points over four games — which included a division-best 40 twice — to win the gold.

El Cajon #1 held off the Temecula Valley Dragons, 29-23, to top the red division.

A pair of games in separate divisions were decided by three points apiece, and both results were the difference for bronze medal finishes. The Kern County Roadrunners knocked off the San Diego Ravens (purple division), 20-17, while the Pomona Wildcats edged the Torrance Lady Dolphins (orange division), 28-25.

Bocce (complete results)

The San Gabriel Valley Bruins won three of four matches, including a 10-8 victory over the second-place Temecula Valley Mustangs, to win the aqua division. The teams from #InlandEmpire enjoyed themselves on the bocce courts, winning four gold (including the Mighty Menifee Tornado’s), a silver and two bronze medals. All told there were eight divisions, with IE claiming a top-three finish in seven of them.

In the green division, the Kern County High Rollers may have finished fifth out of five teams but they did not go down quietly. In identical 11-10 decisions, Kern County pushed bronze medalists the Ventura Camarillo Knockouts and fourth-place Inland Empire T.E.A.M. Superstars to the brink.

One of the longer battles belonged to the red division’s Corona Norco Red Dragons and Tri-Valley Studio City Strikers. The Red Dragons, who finished 4-0 at Summer Games, kept their perfect record intact with a 12-10 win in their toughest contest of the weekend.

Swimming (complete results)

At the pool, 14 individual events featured 1-2 finishes separated by less than a full second, and in the 25-meter butterfly (Div. M1) Keith Jaramillo (La Mirada) and Amar Smith (Central Riverside) tied for the gold after clocking in at 17.62 seconds.

Among the tightest individual races was the 25-meter freestyle (M05) where just 0.44 seconds was the difference between a gold and bronze medal. Atzin Martinez (Reseda) squeaked past Hernan Ramirez (Western San Bernardino) and Charles Dominguez (Irvine Eagles).

In the relays, the South Bay Torrance team of Alan Fry Jr., Fred Oliver, Jonathan Pierce and Chris Telkamp (2:39.37) finished just ahead of the Bakersfield Barracudas team of Dawn Albritton, Eric Galindo, Haylee Jackson and Matthew Rodriguez (2:41.57) to claim gold in the 4×50 race.

Track and field (complete results)

No venue had more neck-and-neck finishes than the track. In all, 53 individual races — mostly in the 50- and 100-meter runs — had at least the gold and silver medalists finish less than a full second apart. In some cases, that one-second window extended from first to fifth place.

No race was closer than the Div. 13 50-meter run. Jo Wallace (Northern Santa Barbara County) inched past Elizabeth Enriquez (Inland Empire T.E.A.M.) by one-hundredth of a second and finished with a time of 9.50 seconds.

In the 100 (Div. 095), the margin was only a hair wider, as Joshua Franco (Tri-Valley Glendale) finished in 13.77 seconds compared to Carlton Goodson’s (South Bay Carson) time of 13.79.

Over in the field events, a pair of shot put competitors were the lone athletes to crack double-digits among the 13 men’s divisions. Blaine Palmer of Santa Clarita Valley claimed the gold with a distance of 11 meters, 61 cm, followed by Brett Laza of Western San Bernardino’s 10 meters, 32 cm.

Div. F4 in the women’s shot put saw Krystal Johnson of Western San Bernardino (6 meters, 74 cm) narrowly eclipse Jacqueline Connell of San Diego County San Ysidro (6 meters, 67 cm).

Inside the SOSC is a blog written by staff member Tracy McDannald. It is a more feature-style approach to looking inside what makes Special Olympics Southern California so unique, so special. It is meant to explore the people and their stories. One word at a time.

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