Local athletes compete in Special Olympics

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VAN ALSTYNE, TX -- Athletes from across Grayson County had the chance to compete in a Special Olympics track meet, and walk away a winner.

These races may only last a few seconds; but for these athletes; the feeling will last a lifetime.

"Just being here for these kids, just to have our athletes here in Van Alstyne and our community come out and just support these athletes." said Mikeal Miller.

Hundreds of boys and girls from ages 6 to 21 competed in a Special Olympics track and field meet Friday morning.

They came from schools across Grayson County to attend the event, held for the first time at Van Alstyne High School.

Van Alstyne coach Mikeal Miller says this is something the athletes, the parents and the entire community can be proud of.

"Van Alstyne has a reputation for giving back and you know our community has always supported our schools and any event that we've hosted here, so we're very blessed." said Miller.

"It's one of the highlights of the year, and we're hoping to do this year after year." said John Spies.

Van Alstyne Superintendent John Spies says no matter if you were running, watching, or helping, everyone was a winner.

"It's a great experience for our athletes that are participating, but its also a great experience for our students that are out here helping, and our staff that's out here helping." said Spies.

"My friends are in class doing math right now, and I'm here helping, so I love it, it's great." said Austin Bonnema.

Austin Bonnema helps work with fellow middle schoolers who have special needs.

He says events like Special Olympics show that no matter what lies ahead of them on the track, or in life, these athletes have what it takes to overcome and go the distance.

"They're no different, which I think is a misunderstanding that a lot of people have of them." said Bonnema.

And Miller says every athlete finished strong.

"I've seen some pretty fast kids, so it's been fun, it really has been." said Miller.

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