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SAAC Hosts Special Olympics Event

The Shenandoah University SAAC hosted the Area 13 Special Olympics this past weekend.
The Shenandoah University SAAC hosted the Area 13 Special Olympics this past weekend.

WINCHESTER, Va.- This past Saturday, Shenandoah University's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) partnered with Special Olympics to host Area 13 athletes.

Approximately 20 Special Olympic athletes visited Shenandoah University on October 13 to watch SU football take on Randolph-Macon and participate in a halftime relay competition.

DJ DeNeal, a long-time Area 13 Athlete, took part in the coin-toss during pre-game.

"We have worked with Area 13 for a few years now," said SAAC co-advisor Ashley Smeltzer-Kraft.  "We have built a good relationship with these athletes, their families and coaches. It was a pleasure to have DJ participate in the coin-toss - the look on everyone's face was priceless."

Twenty-five Shenandoah student-athletes, representing the SAAC, helped organize the event and spent the Saturday of their fall break putting on the relay and an athlete meet and greet at the conclusion of the football game. The 25 student-athletes came from the Hornets men's and women's basketball, field hockey, football, men's golf, softball and women's lacrosse programs.

"Working with the Area 13 Special Olympic athletes truly warms my heart every event we host," Nakona Wolfe, SAAC co-president said.  "This year we had a great turn out of SU athletes especially for it being fall break and cooler weather. For me, the best part of the day was the relay race. Seeing the smiles on the athletes faces when they cross the finish line and everyone cheering for them makes me grateful to be a part of Shenandoah athletics. We have had so many opportunities to leave an impact on the Winchester/Frederick County and SU communities."

"We loved watching the athletes compete in the relay at halftime and meeting them after the game. We look forward to our next event," added Smeltzer-Kraft.

SAAC is currently sponsoring a canned-food drive for a local food bank. Donations can be dropped off at Shingleton Gymnasium or Aikens Athletic Center. The canned food drive is one several the committee has planned for this year.