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Buncombe County Special Olympics Athletes Win Big at Fall Tournament

Athletes representing the Special Olympics Buncombe County Bulldogs ended the 2019 season with several medals at the Special Olympics North Carolina Fall Tournament in Charlotte.

The soccer team took the overall gold medal and six athletes stood on the podium for individual soccer skills. Brian Cromer won gold, Dana Martin and Sue Eversman both took bronze, William Clark and Rob Walker each placed fourth, and Sean Griffin placed seventh.

In tennis, Andie Carolina Jackson and Annie Hetherington received gold medals for short court doubles on Saturday. On Sunday, Jackson won gold and Hetherington won bronze in for short court singles. Ashley Frankel received a silver medal for long court singles. Ben Milling received a silver medal for short court singles.

“The Fall Tournament was a great platform for our athletes to show off how hard they have worked this season,” said Karla Furnari of Buncombe County Recreation Services, who is also a Buncombe County Special Olympics coach and Local Coordinator. “The Special Olympics athlete’s oath is, ‘Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’ Our primary goal is to build confidence, have fun, and share the experience and friendship with families, supporters, and volunteers.”

Buncombe County Special Olympics is made possible through funding from donors and support from Buncombe County Government. Festival of Lights, held December 3-23 at Lake Julian Park, is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year. To donate or volunteer, visit sonc.net/buncombe.

Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy in 1968 to celebrate changing attitudes about the talents of people with intellectual disabilities. Buncombe County Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for youth and adults. Sports include alpine skiing and snowboarding, aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, cheerleading, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, and tennis. The organization also offers the Adaptive Athlete Program in a partnership with South Slope CrossFit and Buncombe County Recreation Services.