More than 1,100 Special Olympics Southern California athletes shined as the two-day 2018 Fall Games came to a close Sunday in Fountain Valley.
Golf was the last of the five sports to wrap up, as the competitors battled a strong wind in the afternoon during the nine-hole round at David L. Baker Golf Course.
In Level 2 alternate shot action, seven divisions were on the schedule and the tightest pairing was in Division C05. In fact, Santa Barbara’s Kevin Brophy and Cerina Smit tied with Ventura’s Alex and Greg Gutfliesh Unified tandem for the gold medal.
Level 4’s individual stroke play featured six divisions. The best score of the round belonged to 17-year-old Corey Honea Jr., who finished with a 36 to win gold in Division M3. For full golf results: Golf Level 2 | Golf Level 4
Meanwhile, next door at Fountain Valley Sports Park, athletes took home medals and ribbons in soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.
On the soccer field, five divisions made up of 18 teams were in action. Gold medalists included: Pasadena Blue Ducks (blue division), Antelope Valley Drought (green), Lakewood Belly Busters (purple), Tri-Valley Clippers (red) and Inland Empire’s Yucaipa Rebels. For full soccer results: Soccer
Softball players made up 19 teams split into five divisions. Northern Santa Barbara County Rebels (green division), Pomona Wildcats (purple), San Diego County Poway Padres (red), El Cajon Storm (yellow) and South Central Avengers (blue) took home the gold in their respective divisions. For full softball results: Softball
After wrapping up singles action on Day 1, tennis players took to the court for doubles competition featuring five divisions and 14 pairings. Joshua Manso (Orange County) won his second gold medal in as many days, partnering with Alejandro Pedroza to win Division DY2. For full tennis results: Tennis Singles | Tennis Doubles
Seven teams – including five in the blue division – competed in volleyball. The Orange County Tigers (blue) and Long Beach Lightning (green) won gold in their respective divisions. For full volleyball results: Volleyball
The superstar athletes also included tennis players Krystal Johnson and Mark Hanson, and golfer Faith Demos – three of the six Southern California athletes who will represent Special Olympics USA at the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi next March.
For Faith, the golf course is where she feels at home, and she enjoys “swinging the club and being out in the open air.” Now, it’s onto preparing for World Games.
“Looking forward to it. I’ve never been out of the country before,” said Faith, who won silver in her division at Fall Games this weekend.
The athletes weren’t the only stars, either.
More than 1,600 volunteers attended over the two days, helping out in areas such as setup, scorekeeping, officiating, and much more.
Among those in attendance was Kaiser Permanente, the official medical partner of Special Olympics Southern California. Aaron Rubin, the chief medical officer for Special Olympics Southern California and a partner physician for Kaiser Permanente, said the administrative team supported more than 30 medical volunteers.
“We’re about a lot of the same things Special Olympics is about: inclusiveness, diversity, and taking care of people,” he said. “It’s been a really great partnership.
“The athletes appreciate everything done for them, from putting a Band-Aid on to some more serious injuries we can deal with. They’re just great. The physicians love seeing the athletes and the athletes get along really well with our staff.”
As the fall season comes to a close, the action rolls on for several athletes with the floor hockey season next on the calendar.