Village Panthers Athletes Finish Strong at Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games

Sheldon, Iowa – Members of the Village Northwest Unlimited Panthers Special Olympics program traveled to Ames, Iowa for the Iowa Summer Games on May 21-22, 2015. The 23-member Panthers team competed in both individual and group events including soccer skills, track & field, and bocce ball. To earn their way to the state competition, individuals and teams qualified based on their placement in the state qualifying event which was held in Sioux Center in April 2015. The Village Panthers are coached by Deb Middle and Sara Wolthuizen.

“Many of our athletes compete year-round and are multi-sport athletes,” says Sara Wolthuizen, Exercise & Sports Instructor, Village Northwest Unlimited. “We’ve really been challenging individuals to compete in different events and they have stepped up to the challenge. We’re proud of their accomplishments.”

Also at the Summer Games, Special Olympics Iowa honored the Harry and Connie Arrick family as Outstanding Family of the Year. The honor was presented during the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies on May 21, 2015 at Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum.

“I cannot think of a more deserving family to be named Outstanding Family of the Year,” says Deb Middle, Exercise & Sports Development Instructor, Village Northwest Unlimited. “Harry and Connie are not only there to support their son, but also to support the entire team. They can always be found in the bleachers encouraging the Panthers. Their liveliness and enthusiasm is contagious to all who attend Panther events.”

The Outstanding Family of the Year award is presented to a family who has made unique and lasting contributions to the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Iowa and who has at least one family member who is a Special Olympics athlete.

Following are the Panthers’ Summer Games Results:

Soccer Skills – individual results:

1st place - Nicole Arens, Brad Friedland, Chad Wassenaar

2nd place - Zach Arrick, Austin Buurman, Darcy Espey, Justin Groen, Jessica Webb

3rd place - Matt Stoll

4th place - Janet Grooters

Track & Field results:

25 meter wheelchair manual race - Todd Ellis 1st Place

30 meter slalom electric wheelchair race - Roger Vogel 1st place

30 meter electric wheelchair race - Eric Graves 1st place

Mini turbo javelin throw - Stephanie Landhuis 1st place

Softball throw - Matt Stoll 3rd place

Standing long jump - Stephanie Landhuis 4th place; John List 5th place; Mike Kramer 6th place

Running long jump - Scott Wheeler 1st place

100 meter dash - John List 5th place

50 meter dash – Bob Stewart 1st place; Nicole Arens 3rd place; Zach Arrick 7th place; Jessica Webb 3rd place; Scott Wheeler 3rd place

100 meter walk race - Chris Swoyer 3rd place

400 meter walk race - Karen Kennedy 2nd place; Les Van Engen 4th place; Mary Swoyer 4th place

4x100 meter relay – 5th place relay team members Zach Arrick, Scott Wheeler, John List, Matt Petersen

Bocce Ball Team Results:

The Panther’s bocce ball team placed 2nd. Team members are Mike Kramer, Stephanie Landhuis, Bob Stewart and Scott Wheeler.

Twenty-three Village Panther athletes competed in the Special Olympics Summer Games May 21-22, 2015 in Ames, IA.