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Blue Jays represent at Special Olympics


The clanking of hard earned medals rang throughout the Marshfield High School (MHS) hallways on the morning of April 28. Just the day before, eight MHS athletes traveled to Clever, MO to represent at a Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) event, a first for MHS. Athletes of every ability were able to showcase their track and field skills including sprints, long jump, shot put and more and simultaneously earning a neck full of medals to proudly show to their friends and family. 

It all began with the MHS Student Council efforts towards inclusion, more specifically including special education students in programs throughout the school. Organized by Breanna Rost, the MHS Librarian and Student Council Advisor, and the Executive Council, which is composed of ten selected student leaders, both began working weekly with Mr. Ahlquist’ special education class. The two forces united working on making healthy choices, learning track and field techniques and cultivating strong friendships along the way. 

Two council members in particular, Jeremy Graham and Macie James would take the lead in the athlete’s training. Graham in particular has a desire to coach in the future and took to the role naturally. 

“Jeremy was in my class and a perfect fit. He is on the track team and he's wanting to be a coach someday. It was perfect and he worked with the athletes really well,” explained Rost. “As well as Macie James… It was just a natural fit with those two.”

“Just working with the kids was a lot of fun and even including the students in the Executive Council, just to help me out and have fun with the athletes was great,” smiled Graham. “It was just all inclusive. We all got together and had fun.”

 The SOMO athletes received a large send off known as the “Walk of Champions” prior to their departure. Students and faculty filled the hallways cheering, high-fiving and wishing the athletes the best in their upcoming competition. 

Partnering up with their friends from the Executive Council, the athletes went into the competition ready to win. The crew would take home a hoard of medals, smiles and memories of a lifetime. 

The MHS Special Olympic Athletes earned the following hardware:


Gabriel Hill: 

Javelin - 1st place

Running Long Jump - 3rd place

Shot Put - 2nd place

4x100m Unified Relay - 1st place


Ryan Kays:

25m Run - 1st place

Standing Long Jump - 3rd place

Teeball Throw - 1st place


Austin Newell:

100m Run - 1st place

Running Long Jump - 2nd place

Shot Put - 1st place

4x100m Unified Relay - 1st place


Gerald Salsman:

100m Walk - 1st place

Shot Put - 3rd place

Standing Long Jump - 3rd place


Joseph Shaw:

100m Run - 3rd place

Running Long Jump - 3rd place

Shot Put - 2nd place


Lilly Sterling:

Running Long Jump - 1st place

Softball Throw - 1st place

4x100m Unified Relay - 2nd place


Zander Whorton:

100m Run - 4th place

Softball Throw - 4th place

Standing Long Jump - 2nd place


Madison Wonderly:

Standing Long Jump - 2nd place

Teeball Throw - 1st place

4x100m Unified Relay - 2nd place


Unified Relay Teams: (2 Special Olympic Athletes and 2 Unified Partners)

Girls 4x100m Unified Relay: Madison Wonderly, Lilly Sterling, Chelsey Brown, and Macie James 

Boys 4x100m Unified Relay: Gabriel Hill, Austin Newell, Owen Curley, and Peyton McBride


Each athlete was honored atop a podium, a moment both athletes and onlookers would never forget. 

“The athletes came back to us showing the metals and celebrating with us and jumping up and down,” reflected Graham. “Just their energy after that was probably the best and the brightest moment of the day.”

 “They were so proud to be on that podium,” beamed Rost.

 Almost a week has passed since the competition, but the clinking of medals can still be heard. The athletes will later be recognized at the MHS Memories Assembly for their hard work and success at the SOMO event. They will also receive athletic letters to commemorate the historic event, which is likely the beginning of a Marshfield tradition. Rost believes that even one day, MHS will host their own SOMO event, revealing the champion in all of us. 

Executive Council Members include: Jermey Graham, Macie James, Peyton McBride, Owen Curley, Noah Totten, Carter Detherow, Isaac Moon, Evan Hurley, Chelsey Brown and Ragan Winegard.



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