On January 20-21, the Illinois Institute of Technology Athletic Department and its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) played host to Special Olympics Chicago High School Basketball. The two-day event held in the Keating Sports Center featured approximately 375 athletes on both days.
The event was one of around 40 tournaments Special Olympics Illinois holds each year, giving over 6,000 athletes a chance to compete. Last week’s tournament event in the Keating Sports Center served as a qualifier for the state tournament held in March at Illinois State University.
“Hosting the tournament with Special Olympics is important to us,” said Athletic Director Joe Hakes. “Serving these young men and women who put so much passion into their games is a joy to watch. We look forward to a continuing and enhanced relationship with Special Olympics through our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.”
Over 30 Scarlet Hawk student-athletes volunteered for the event through Illinois Tech’s SAAC. As the event concluded, it was clear the participants themselves were not the only ones who enjoyed the event.
“Seeing the faces of the athletes light up as they competed on the court was as rewarding as one would imagine,” said SAAC member and women’s lacrosse student-athlete Cassandra Reineke. “In knowing the feeling of competing on the court or field as a student-athlete, it is even more rewarding to be able to help create that feeling in others.”
“We are extremely grateful to Illinois Tech Athletics for its continued support of Special Olympics in Chicago,” said Dani Chitwood, manager of program operations for Special Olympics Illinois Area 3. “We truly hope that our relationship continues over the years.”