BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee hosted its Annual Special Olympics Basketball Tournament in Timothy Breidegam Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon with 40 participants from the Lehigh County Special Olympics and Bethlehem City Special Olympics and over 80 Moravian student-athletes.
This is the third year of hosting the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament at Moravian. SAAC advisor and Head Women's Volleyball Coach Shelley Bauder, SAAC president and men's soccer goalie Brian Boland and members and women's soccer players Taylor Blake and Kirsten Schall met with local Special Olympic coaches and organized today's event. The Special Olympics coaches told the group that this is one of their athletes' favorite days, and they love interacting with the college students.
"The Special Olympics coaches always tell me they aren't sure which their athletes enjoy the most, the big courts, engaging with the college students, or the free lunch," commented Bauder. "Each year we host this tournament, I'm in awe of both the competitiveness and camaraderie of the Special Olympics athletes. They hustle, give high fives, try their hardest and thoroughly enjoy competing. 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 the men's and women's basketball, cheerleading, field hockey, football, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball squads. Lehigh Country Special Olympian Cheyenne Burton then sang the national anthem while Bethlehem City Special Olympian Christina Saraceno recited the Special Olympics oath.
"We had a great turn out from Special Olympians and Moravian athletes," stated Boland. "It was an amazing day and a day everyone really looks forward to all year. I'm really proud of how much the Moravian athletes put in to this day.
Several games of both five-on-five and three-on-three were played with Greyhound athletes officiating, cheering, keeping score and running the concession stand.
"All of the Moravian athletes are so excited when this day comes," Schall said. "We know how much the Special Olympics means to the athletes and seeing their smiling faces and enthusiasm brightens our day."
Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.