Special Olympians showcase track and field talents

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NORTH JACKSON — Special Olympians from seven West Tennessee counties go for the gold in the annual track and field competition. From the 50-meter dash to the softball throw, nearly 300 competitors from 8 to 60 years old showcased their talents. “I got the first-place ribbon in softball throw, so it’s pretty fun out here,” Matthew Dickson said. The excitement from the athletes was transparent. It’s a day they’ve anticipated all year long. “They love it,” Randi Ezelle said. “I mean, they talk about it all the way up to today, and then I get phone calls, I get emails, I get texts.” Ezelle is the area director for the Special Olympics. She said her athletes are all ages, each dealing with some form of intellectual disability. “It just brings more camaraderie for the athletes to get together and compete against one another,” Ezelle said. “You just cannot enjoy enough of it,” Holt McFarland said. “I really enjoyed it.” McFarland, 21, has been competing in the track and field events for five years. Friday, he took home third place in the softball throw. He said he was hoping for first but was happy to compete. “It doesn’t matter how much you win — just enjoy it,” McFarland said. Organizers said athletes who qualified Friday will go on to compete in the state competition on May 16 in Nashville.

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