Local Special Olympians Excited For National Games
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Three area athletes will try to win gold medals when they compete with some of the best in the nation this weekend.
The Special Olympics USA Games will begin Saturday, June 14 and continue through Friday, June 20 at ten locations in Princeton, New Jersey including Princeton University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Mercer County Park and several private schools.
Along with 3,500 athletes from across the country, the major event is expected to attract 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers, and 70,000 spectators.
Three members of Special Olympics Indiana Ripley Ohio Dearborn will be among the competitors heading to the games with Team Indiana.
Becky Cashman, of Bear Branch, and Christa Mullins, of Dillsboro, will compete in aquatic events. At the Indiana Summer Games held last weekend at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Mullins, 24, and Cashman, 27, partnered to win gold in the 4×100 meter relay swim.
“I am so excited and can’t wait to get to nationals, even though it will be a lot of hard work,” Cashman says of the coming experience.
“Special Olympics is my life and without it I would be bored. Attending National Games means my coaches and head of delegation think I have become a better athlete in my sport of aquatics,” Mullins says.
Jacob Eldridge, of Manchester, earned gold medals in the 400 meter, 800 meter, and 1500 meter runs at the state games. He set a new personal best time of 5:53 in the 1500 meter run. The 17-year-old will compete in those same events in New Jersey, as well as the 4×400 meter relay.
“Becky, Jacob, and Christa have worked countless hours and given their full effort for this once-in a lifetime opportunity,” says Greg Townsend, the local delegation coordinator.
All three athletes say they are looking forward to meeting new friends at the USA Games.