Hinsdale South Special Olympics athletes take home medals

The Hinsdale South High School Special Olympics athletes. Front row: Jantha Laemmer, Cori Lesnik, Nelly Polanco; middle row: coach Courtney Hanrahan, Kittiya Laemmer, Jorge Huerta, Ja'launi Collins, Mattie Kotlowitz; back row: coach Tom Rocco, Jose Ugalde, Juan Carrera, Ryan Donovan, and Ruben Lara. | Provided
The Hinsdale South High School Special Olympics athletes. Front row: Jantha Laemmer, Cori Lesnik, Nelly Polanco; middle row: coach Courtney Hanrahan, Kittiya Laemmer, Jorge Huerta, Ja'launi Collins, Mattie Kotlowitz; back row: coach Tom Rocco, Jose Ugalde, Juan Carrera, Ryan Donovan, and Ruben Lara. | Provided

Hinsdale South High School’s Special Olympics swimming and track and field teams competed at the State Special Olympics Summer Games held at Illinois State University in Bloomington. Eleven athletes advanced to the summer games by winning gold medals earlier this spring at the regional competition.

Track and Field

For the first time in Hornet history, a student participated in the pentathlon. Jorge Huerta clinched the gold medal by more than 50 points from the nearest competitor. Huerta set personal bests in each of the five categories: 400-meter run, 200-meter run, long jump, high jump and shot put.

Jose Ugalde took first place in both the 400-meter run and the long jump. Jantha Laemmer took first place in the 200-meter run and placed third in the long jump. Ja’Launi Collins took second place in the shot put competition and fourth place in the 200-meter run. Cori Lesnik placed fifth in the 200-meter run and sixth place in the softball throw competition. Kittiya Laemmer placed fourth in the 200-meter run and seventh in the shot put competition. Track and field was led by coaches Joe Defalco, Tom Rocco, Courtney Hanrahan and Kathy Craig.

Swimming

For the team relay, Mattie Kotlowitz, Ryan Donovan, Nelly Polanco and Juan Carrera took second place in the 25-meter freestyle event. In individual competition, for the 25-meter backstroke, Kotlowitz took second place, Ruben Lara placed sixth and Donovan placed seventh. In the 50-meter freestyle event, Carrera took first place and Kotlowitz took second. Swimming was led by coaches Anne Kairis and Joanne Betke.

“We had so many great accomplishments this year,” said Special Olympics Coach Kathy Craig. “These students are true athletes. They give it their all and their hard work always pays off. Each athlete improved in time and performance from the regional to the state meet. Their effort really shows. We are all so proud.”

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