Three local members of Team Arkansas competed in the National Special Olympics on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington last week and Monday morning, Mena Mayor George McKee declared the day as Maddie Fletcher Day, Krista Carstens Day and Jesse Ezell Day in recognition of their achievements.
Mena High School Independent Living teacher, Elizabeth Tompkins is the Area Director for Area 14 for the Special Olympics and she stated it was an experience of a lifetime. “They got to do things and see things that they have never been exposed to in Arkansas,” Tompkins said. “They got to meet new athletes and made new friends. They rose above the challenge that we put forth for them. They shined and they are leaders that nobody ever knew existed.”
Maddie said it was so exciting. “I got gold in the 50-meter butterfly and a bronze in the 50-meter freestyle,” Maddie said. “But they did not have BBQ or sweet tea in Seattle.”
Krista placed 5th in the 100-meter dash and the Team Arkansas 4 X 100-meter relay team won a silver medal on Thursday, July 5. The team members were Stephanie Price, Chelsea Willis, Carstens and Ashley Blankenship.
Krista said, “I enjoyed meeting all the other athletes, cheer them on. Do my events and do the best I can.”
Jesse Ezell and the Arkansas flag football team were the number one seed in the flag football tournament following pool play. Jesse and the Arkansas Special Olympics team defeated Arizona 38-0 to earn the bronze medal.
Fletcher and Ezell are Mena High School students and Carstens is a member of the Polk County Developmental Center.
Team Arkansas has 125 members including 72 athletes, 23 Unified Partners, and 30 coaches. Athletes competed in 11 sports including softball, basketball, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, powerlifting, soccer, swimming, track and field, and stand up paddle boarding.