LONG BRANCH:The Special Olympics New Jersey Monmouth/Ocean County - Area 6 held its annual track and field event at Long Branch High School field on May 9 with 250 athletes from towns and organizations in the two counties.
The T&F athletes were hosted by the LBHS band, cheerleaders and staff as the Jersey Shore Running Club managed the logistics, scoring and award ceremony for the eight categories of challenges. An excited gathering of athletes from ages 5 to over 30 years old were welcomed by LB School Superintendent Dr. Michael Salvatore and greeted by a grandstand of family, friends and fans to brighten a foggy day.
The Area 6 Committee thanked organizer and chair Lisa Wilhelm who began the program 25 years ago. Her retirement leaves a most memorable history of commitment and devotion to Special Olympics, they said.
Rain started just as opening ceremonies completed, with Long Branch favorite songstress Reanna Runge singing her enthusiastic version of the National Anthem, and a resounding cheer from the fans.
With the changes in weather the events that could not safely be held on the field were moved into the school gym. Some track event were able to run outside but the long jump, for example, was moved in as a safety precaution.