The June 26-28 Special Olympics state tournament turned out to be three great days for the Milaca Special Olympics team.
Nine Milaca athletes in three age groups competed to show their stuff against other competitors from all around the state. In all, Milaca racked up 17 medals in three days at the meet in Stillwater, including seven golds.
Natasha Duren placed first in two events, the 200 meter and the 100 meter in the 22-29 age group.
Taylor Ash also finished first in two events, the 100-meter walk and the 25-meter walk. He competed in the 16-21 age group.
Jessica Strohmayer earned three medals for Milaca, including a gold in the 50 meters in the 16-21 age group. She also earned a pair of bronzes in the 100 meters and the 4×100 meter unified relay.
The final two gold medals came from performances by Eric Nordstrom in the 8-11 age group. Nordstrom took the top spot in the 25- and 50-meter walks.
Carly Mellott competed in four events and was able to earn a silver in the shot put and a bronze in the 50 meters for Milaca.
Corey Santema finished a runner-up in the 100 meters and in third in the 4×100 meter unified relay in the 16-21 age group.
Kayla Jo Gaslin, earned her first state medal with a third place finish in the standing long jump in the 8-11 age group.
“After watching all the athletes walking around wearing their medals, Kayla Jo was very focused on achieving her own,” said Kathy Fitschen, program coordinator for Milaca Community Special Olympics.
The final two athletes for Milaca were Cassie Hible, who finished with a bronze in the running long jump in the 22-29 age group, and Patience Maetzold, who competed in four events and finished fourth in the 50 meters for the 16-21 age group.