Seventeen athletes trained by the South East Association for Special Parks And Recreation (SEASPAR) earned a combined 33 medals, including 21 gold, at the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games in Bloomington-Normal June 7 to 9.
The Summer Games is the largest of the more than 175 Special Olympics competitions held throughout Illinois each year, and is the final state competition for the sports of athletics (track and field), bocce, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer and swimming. More than 4,000 athletes competed at the event at the Illinois State University campus. SEASPAR was represented in five sports by17 athletes.
Nine of these athletes competed in swimming. SEASPAR’s youngest competitor, 13-year-old Steven Gonzalez of Lisle, earned a gold medal in his division in the 50 meter backstroke event in his first state competition. He also earned gold in the 4X25M freestyle relay with teammates Ryan McGuire of La Grange, David Raineri of Downers Grove and Denise Sedlacek of Naperville. McGuire also took gold in the 25M freestyle event.
SEASPAR’s second relay team earned gold in the 4X100M freestyle event. The athletes on this team are Mark Ploskonka of Darien, William Porch of Westmont, Sam Smetko of La Grange Park and Chris Tegeler of Darien. Alternate Daniel Smrokowski of La Grange Park did not compete in the relay, but earned silver and bronze in his individual events.
The two powerlifting athletes trained by SEASPAR earned multiple medals. Emily Lundvall of Westmont took gold in her division of the bench press, deadlift and combination events. This was Lundvall’s sixth year competing and earning gold at Summer Games. Allen Rosete of Darien, a third-time powerlifting competitor, earned gold medals in his division of the bench press and combination events and a bronze medal in the deadlift event.
SEASPAR’s two artistic gymnastics competitors also earned multiple medals. Anna Cavallo of Downers Grove earned gold in her divisions of the balance beam and floor routine. Kari Winter, also of Downers Grove, took gold in her division of floor exercise and bronze in balance beam. This was both athletes’ fourth year competing in Level 2 artistic gymnastics at Summer Games.
In Bocce, SEASPAR athlete Ron Kamper of Indian Head Park earned a gold medal in the traditional singles event. This was Kamper’s second year competing at Summer Games.
SEASPAR was represented by three competitors in athletics (track and field). Samantha Wagner of Woodridge earned silver in her division of the 200M run, and Connor Brennan of Western Springs took fifth place in his divisions of the 100M run and mini javelin events. Michael Drabik of Woodridge competed in the pentathlon, which combines five individual events, and earned fifth place.