Breaking News Bar
updated: 4/14/2013 5:03 PM

Athletes with disabilities taste thrill of competition at DuPage track meet

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Jordan Pfauth, 13, of Carol Stream takes the inside lane in the 100-meter dash Sunday during the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association annual track and field meet at North Central College in Naperville. About 140 young athletes took part in the event.

       Jordan Pfauth, 13, of Carol Stream takes the inside lane in the 100-meter dash Sunday during the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association annual track and field meet at North Central College in Naperville. About 140 young athletes took part in the event.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Brittany Lancaster of Naperville Central High School competes Sunday in the tennis ball toss during the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association annual track and field meet at North Central College in Naperville. About 140 young athletes took part in the event.

       Brittany Lancaster of Naperville Central High School competes Sunday in the tennis ball toss during the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association annual track and field meet at North Central College in Naperville. About 140 young athletes took part in the event.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Zack Wieckiewicz, 14, of Naperville participates in the a race Sunday during the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association annual track and field meet at North Central College in Naperville.

       Zack Wieckiewicz, 14, of Naperville participates in the a race Sunday during the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association annual track and field meet at North Central College in Naperville.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

Joan Camper said she's noticed big changes in her 20-year-old son, Grant, since he started participating in competitive track events more than 10 years ago.

"It gave him a huge boost in self-confidence," said Camper, a Carol Stream resident. "It improved his social skills. But it also showed him how to accept losing, too. He's become a better sport now. He likes cheering teammates on."

Grant was one of about 140 children and young adults with special needs who participated Sunday in the annual Western DuPage Special Recreation Association Track Meet held at North Central College in Naperville.

The athletes competed in a number of running, walking and jumping events, along with tennis-ball and softball throwing contests. Spectators in the stands at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium smiled, clapped and cheered as each event unfolded.

The meet served as a warm-up for a larger Illinois Special Olympics competition that will be held in Naperville this coming weekend.

"Some of the participants are new to this kind of competition, so today's meet gives them a great chance to see what it's like before (the Special Olympics games)," said Sherry Manschot, WDSRA's marketing manager.

Julie Evans of Glen Ellyn said her 13-year-old son, Miles, has been competing in track events for six years.

"The experience has been invaluable," Evans said. "It's helped his work ethic, his discipline, his confidence."

Like Camper, Evans said competing against and with his peers also has made her son a more supportive teammate.

"He loves to be a fan now," she said.

Judy Garza of Joliet watched her 19-year-old daughter, Gaby, complete a 10-meter assisted walk to the roar of cheers from the audience.

"It's such a great feeling to see her out there," Garza said.

WDSRA is a cooperative extension of nine park districts in DuPage County: Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield.

Share

Interested in reusing this article?

Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.

The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.

Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *

Message (optional)

Success - Reprint request sent Click to close
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here