More than 500 athletes and 200 volunteer coaches are set to participate in the 2014 Special Olympics West Virginia State Basketball and Cheerleading Tournament. Opening ceremonies will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday (March 14) at Morgantown High School. Opening ceremonies will be followed by the cheerleading tournament at 8:30 p.m.

The basketball tournament, which will feature team games and individual skills, will be held at the West Virginia University Student Recreational Center from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday (March 15). Top teams will play in the championship games from 7-11 a.m. Sunday (March 16) at the WVU Coliseum. An awards ceremony will follow at 11:30 a.m.

College of Education and Human Services associate professor Ann Richards, department of special education, is the games director for the tournament.

“It has been my pleasure to work with Special Olympics West Virginia for the 14 years I have been in West Virginia,” said Richards. “This basketball tournament is a great way for me to give back to individuals with disabilities and to meet with the great people from across the state that volunteer to support these athletes.”

The Special Olympics is the world’s largest organization that provides persons with intellectual disabilities year-round opportunities to train and compete. Special Olympics West Virginia, which originally began in 1968 in Parkersburg, now works with more than 5,000 athletes from across the state.

“Our Special Olympics athletes have been training very hard with their volunteer coaches in preparation to do their best this weekend,” said Special Olympics West Virginia chief executive officer John Corbett. “This tournament, which features more Special Olympics athletes than ever before, provides them with an opportunity to showcase their abilities and be recognized for their accomplishments. I have no doubt that all of the athletes will have a wonderful experience with their basketball and cheerleading competitions.”

This marks the eighth consecutive year Special Olympics West Virginia has hosted its annual State Basketball and Cheerleading Tournament. All tournament events are open to the public.



CONTACT: Christie Zachary, College of Education and Human Services

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