Greater Trail Special Olympians brought home a bucket full of medals from the B.C. Special Olympic Summer Games in Langley last weekend.
The Region 1 contingent from the East and West Kootenays joined over 1,100 athletes and coaches for the three day event, winning a total of 62 medals: 11 gold, 16 silver, and 35 bronze.
Three Greater Trail swimmers led the way accounting for 17 of 27 Region 1 medals in the pool. Local swimmers Sherry Altrogge and Alyssa Berdusco each claimed six medals, with Altrogge swimming to an incredible five gold and one silver, and Berdusco capturing one gold and five silver medals, while Stuart Hawton also swam well picking up two silver and three bronze medals.
“It was fantastic,” said swim coach Collin Berdusco. “I knew that our athletes had worked hard in the past year, but I definitely knew that Sherry would improve the most and probably do the best at the meet, and she did.”
It was the first year of competition for the 52-year-old Altrogge, who has worked hard in the pool all year to prepare for the Games.
It was also Berdusco’s first year as coach after spectating for many years, and while he is proud of his swimmers’ accomplishments, his emphasis is on improving every time they enter the pool and swimming personal bests.
“I don’t care how they do. A lot of times if they don’t get first, second, or third, you also have their times from the past and any improvement on their swim times is a success,” he said. “When you go there and you see the success that they have, you’re just so happy for them and whether it’s gold, silver, or bronze or just improving on their times, you know they’ve worked hard to reach that success every year, and it’s just amazing. They’re amazing, hard working athletes.”
Outside the pool, Maria Veltri bowled to gold in single women’s scratch high score with a 242 in five-pin bowling.
The Trail Bocce team made up of Fred Crere, Bob Lattanzio, David Cold, and Neil Emery was also good as gold, while Al Cummings won silver in men’s golf, missing gold by one stroke.
The event was the largest BC Special Olympic Summer Games ever, creating a great atmosphere and generating a unique camaraderie that transcended the competition.
“The success of our Trail Athletes this past weekend was largely due to the commitment from our athletes, but they could not have achieved what they did without the help of a tireless group of volunteer coaches,” said Ben Postmus. “Long time Trail residents Collin Berdusco, Alan and Linda Prough, Ozzie Ius, Leanne Harrison, Sheila Hawton, Brenda Clark, Gail Miller, and newcomers to our community Jakki Van Hemert, Mike Clarke, and Michelle Fletcher go above and beyond to get these athletes ready to compete and succeed at the provincial Level. You often don’t see their faces, but their dedication to these athletes is remarkable.”
The athletes have a good chance of competing for B.C. in the Canadian championships but await final results from BC Special Olympics.