Local teams compete at Special Olympics floor hockey tournament

Bellefonte, Centre County, Pa. - There were more than 300 athletes at Bald Eagle High School for the 11th annual Special Olympics State Floor Hockey tournament.

A local team was there representing their county. 

"They play well as a team and they just have fun, that's what it's all about having fun and being a team," said Traci Ridenour. 

Ridenour has been coaching the Cambria County Eagles Special Olympic Team for 25 years. 

She started out as a volunteer and loves watching all the teams play.

"It's just fun watching them, it's exciting. I get into Special Olympics like I would any other professional sport. In fact more than professional sports,they're not doing it for the money they're doing it to have fun," she said. 

The entire tournament is organized by Bald Eagle Area High School students.

"It just warms my heart because they're just like us and they can compete as, they are so intense like us when it comes to sports. It just makes me so happy to see that we can bring this event to them," said volunteer Toni Masullo. 

Ridenour says volunteers make these tournaments happen. 

"If it wasn't for the volunteers state wide we wouldn't have this event and to see former athletes be referees now, that's what it's all about seeing them grow into that."

Toni Masullo has volunteered the last 4 years as a student.  She plans to come back next year to help at Olympic Village. 

"That was where I first started out and I just love it because that's the time you get to interact the most with the athletes, so probably just come back and help there."

As for Ridenour, she says her favorite part is seeing her players grow. She wishes more were involved. 

"Some of them have physical disabilities in additions to mental disabilities. To see them blossom, I wish more families would get involved."

 

The Cambria County Eagles aren't the only local team participating. 

A team of players from Bedford County are also at the tournament. 

Saturday was just the preliminary rounds, 

Sunday teams will go head to head for medals. 


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