BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee hosted its Annual Special Olympics Basketball Tournament in Timothy Breidegam Fieldhouse Sunday afternoon with more than 40 participants from the Lehigh Country Special Olympics and Bethlehem City Special Olympics and over 100 Moravian student-athletes as the Greyhounds kicked off the 2016 D3Week.
This is the fourth year of hosting the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament at Moravian. SAAC advisor and Assistant Athletic Director Sara Steinman, Head Women's Volleyball Coach Shelley Bauder and former SAAC president and men's soccer goalie Brian Boland met with local Special Olympic coaches to help organize today's tournament. The group from Special Olympics has told Moravian that this is one of their athletes' favorite days of the year, and that they love interacting with the college students.
"The Special Olympics coaches aren't sure which their athletes enjoy the most when they come to Moravian each year, playing on the big courts, interacting with our student-athletes, or the free lunch," commented Bauder. "Every year that we host this event, I'm in awe of both the competitiveness and camaraderie of the Special Olympics athletes. They always hustle, give one another high fives, try their hardest and thoroughly enjoy competing against one another. It's a great event for our student athletes to be involved in and I'm very proud of the number of them who helped today. It truly was a Great Day to be a Hound."
The day began with an opening ceremony with the Special Olympic athletes parading through a tunnel of the Moravian student-athletes from various squads. Lehigh Country Special Olympian Cheyenne Burton then sang the national anthem after the athletes recited the Special Olympics oath.
"We had another great turn out from Special Olympians and Moravian student-athletes, and we seem to be getting more and more help every year," Boland said. "It was an amazing afternoon, and I am proud of the hard work that our Greyhound student-athletes put into this day every year."
Several games of both five-on-five and three-on-three were played with Greyhound athletes officiating, cheering, keeping score and new this year playing some games with the Special Olympians. For the first time this year, Moravian also had a pizza lunch for all of those in attendance after the games were completed.
"It means a lot as an athlete to give back during an event like this," stated senior football player Chernoh Shaw, who played in one of the five-on-five games. "We need to put ourselves in their shoes, and just play with them and have fun. We had a good time playing in the game with them this year. It got a little competitive at the end and our team came up on the short but the key was just coming out, running around and having fun with the Special Olympic athletes."
A photo gallery of the event can be viewed by clicking here.