Tag Archive for: Special Olympics

SOU at Special Olympics polar plunge

SOU Raiders make a big splash for Special Olympics

The SOU Raiders were freezin’ for a reason last weekend in support of the 16th annual Southern Oregon Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon, held March 2 at the Rogue Valley Country Club. The SOU Raider team consisted of 16 SOU students, one faculty member and three staff members who donned their red and black attire and took the plunge into the outdoor, unheated pool.

The Raiders were supported by donations from President Rick Bailey, SOU faculty, staff and friends of the university, who raised more than $2,000 for the cause. Participants showed up despite four inches of snow on the ground and near-freezing temperatures to get cold for the cause.

Participants were: Christina Martin, SOU board coordinator/legal assistant; Sam Hayes-Hicks, faculty, Creative Arts; Russell Copley, director of the Oregon Fringe Festival; Reed Bentley, SOU alum and director of the Maraval Road Steel Drum Band; and SOU students Shannon Jackson, Jared Rountree, Ryan McGinley, Clarisa Spevack, Camper Pillifant, Gianna McCardell, Jirapreeya Buranathamawat, Alexandra Carwithen, Cedar Berndt and Isaac Glace. All braved the close-to-freezing water with Kim Andresen, team captain, and Southern Oregon Plunge event manager.

Besides those plunging, members of SOU’s Maraval Road Steel Drum Band provided bright and tropical tunes that livened up the early morning event, where participants registered and walked around visiting community organization tables. In addition, Rocky Raider was on hand to high-five and greet participants right alongside event sponsor Rogue Credit Union’s “Wally the Wolf” and the Special Olympics Polar Bear “Polly.”

As hundreds of people took the plunge, the SOU Raider Drumline featured percussion students from the SOU music department, who drum rolled people into the chilly water as the cold, but engaged audience counted down.

“I’m so grateful to the SOU Raider Family that has supported this event for the past 7 years,” said Kim Andresen, event manager. “The cold is temporary, but the impact on the athletes lasts all year. Raising community awareness, support and money for athletes with disabilities across the state is a real game-changer.”

The fundraiser had record-breaking attendance with over 500 people and more than 300 participants who braved the cold water.  In addition, a total of more than $82,000 was raised, surpassing 2023’s high of $63,000. Proceeds from the event support local athletes from Klamath, Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties, and provides uniforms, sports equipment, regional and national competition travel opportunities, wellness and nutrition programs, and connection with the community for athletes with disabilities.

Photo by Tami Lee

Polar Plunge is back on Saturday

Polar Plunge: SOU team to participate in Saturday’s Special Olympics fundraiser

SOU students, staff and faculty have the opportunity to brave icy waters and support local Special Olympics Oregon athletes with intellectual disabilities during the 2019 Polar Plunge event on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Medford’s Jackson Aquatic Center.

The Southern Oregon Polar Plunge will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a costume contest for the participants. The opening ceremonies are scheduled for 11 a.m., followed by the plunge – or plunges.

An SOU team, along with many other local supporters, will participate and support local special needs athletes.

Every student or participant who takes the icy “plunge” must raise $50 in support of the Special Olympics Oregon – half of which goes to local programs for Special Olympics athletes in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties. The money helps to provide training, equipment, uniforms, wellness programs and experiences of a lifetime for the athletes.

Organizers recommend plunging with a team of family, friends, co-workers or members of local organizations. SOU will be represented by an Oregon Center for the Arts team organized by student captain Jared Brown. Those who aren’t up for a plunge can still participate by pledging as little as $5 to the SOU team.

More information about the plunge is available on the event website, or by calling (541) 841-6875 or emailing Polar Plunge event manager Kim Andresen – who doubles as division manager for SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts – at soplunge@soor.org.

The Southern Oregon Polar Plunge is the only pool-based plunge event in Oregon. It is a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations and businesses to help support local Special Olympics  athletes.

Every participant in the plunge will receive a commemorative t-shirt, hot soup and the opportunity to meet the Special Olympics athletes that will benefit from their plunges.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern

SOU soccer players get more than a win out of conference tournament

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/a7kHHV)
(Ashland, Ore.) — The Southern Oregon University men’s soccer team, in just its third year of existence, had a weekend its members won’t soon forget at the Cascade Conference Championship in Eugene.
They’ll remember winning the tournament, too.
But it wasn’t their overtime win in tournament’s final game on Monday that provided the biggest buzz for SOU’s team members. It was the gesture by three SOU players, who met a Special Olympics goalie – Trevor “T-Bone” Novak – at a soccer clinic the previous day and fulfilled his lifelong dream by arranging for him to be “in goal” at the start of Monday’s championship game.
A player for SOU’s opponent, Salem’s Corban University, dribbled the ball toward SOU’s goal and kicked the ball toward Trevor – who successfully blocked the shot.
“The awesome part of this event was what Trevor said as he was leaving: ‘I now have 25 new brothers and this has been the best day of my life,’” SOU Coach Biniam Afenegus said. “What an experience for Trevor, but more so for my players. They were talking about Trevor on the bus all the way home.”
A few of SOU’s players began talking with Trevor during Sunday’s Special Olympics soccer clinic – an annual event organized by tournament host Northwest Christian University and the four teams scheduled to play in Monday’s men’s and women’s final games. Trevor mentioned that his lifelong wish was to play goalie in a college game.
SOU players Michael Miller, Sean McManamon and Junior Rivas later talked with NCU’s athletic director about getting Trevor into the start of the following day’s championship game and making the necessary arrangements with the referees.
The plan went off without a hitch, and Trevor sat with the team for the rest of the game and even participate in its halftime huddle.
As a volunteer coordinator for Eugene-area Special Olympics pointed out later, that good karma may have come back around for the SOU team. “The best part of the story is that the SOU Raiders won the championship – maybe their good deed was paid back,” she said.