More than 1,500 athletes will go for gold at track and field meet

Wizard of Oz yellow brick road graphic with pictures of elementary Special Olympic competitors walking, running, or being pushed in a wheelchair on stadium track
February 22, 2018

The 49th annual NISD Special Olympics Track and Field Meet is scheduled for Feb. 26 – March 2 at Gustafson Stadium.

The theme for this year’s competition is the “Wizard of Oz” which is fitting to describe the tremendous skills, heart, and courage shown by each of the competitors.

Special Olympics began in Northside ISD in 1969 with just a handful of participants. This year, more than 1,500 Olympians will participate from 103 schools across the District.

Opening ceremonies begin each day at 10 a.m. with the Parade of Athletes, Torch Run, and lighting of the Special Olympics caldron. Opening ceremonies each day will feature special entertainment to help pump up the athletes, including high school drum lines, ROTC Honor Guards, and dance groups.

In addition to the 103 schools participating over the five-day event, hundreds of student, community, and district volunteers will be on hand to support the athletes and cheer them on to victory.

“We are honored to have so many community and NISD student volunteers” says Donna Umhoefer, lead specialist for NISD Adapted Physical Education/Special Olympics. “It takes all of us to encourage our athletes to follow the yellow brick road to victory. There really is no place quite like a Special Olympics competition!”

Competition events include the 50-meter dash, 100-meter dash, softball throw, Turbojav, standing and running long jump, along with wheelchair and developmental racing and throwing events.

Opening ceremonies participants include:

  • Monday, Feb. 26: (Elementary schools competing)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27: (Elementary schools competing) - rescheduled for Thursday, March 8
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8: (Elementary schools competing)
  • Thursday, March 1: (Middle schools competing)
  • Friday, March 2: (High schools competing)

Team trophies and awards will be presented at 1:30 p.m. each day during closing ceremonies.

Organizers monitor the weather each day and any updates to schedules are posted on the NISD website, Facebook, and Twitter.