Hundreds of Special Olympics athletes compete in Lehigh County event


Hundreds of athletes from eastern Pennsylvania brought their A-game to the fields and courts at DeSales University on Sunday for the Special Olympics Fall Sectional.

"Something about it that just gets you going, just gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing," said Frank Costanzo, a Montgomery County athlete.

More than 750 athletes spent the day competing in cross country running, bocce ball, volleyball, power lifting and soccer.

"I love being on offense and just keep going and keep the team going," said Josh Doughty, a Lancaster County athlete.

"They want, just like you and I, to win, to celebrate so if we can give them that opportunity that's amazing," said Hannah Pergolizzi, one of the event coordinators.

Players say there's no better feeling than a win, but no matter the outcome, everyone was made to feel like a gold medalist.

"Competition is a small part of what happens today you know, it's the fun and the happiness that's the big part of it," said volleyball coach Patty Lurwick.

Coaches and event organizers say Special Olympics creates an environment filled with comradery, friendships and love, giving the players a sense of self-worth.

"They deserve the same things that anyone else does and to create a community that's so accepting, that just can build them up and just see them show off their skills," said Pergolizzi.

"They just love being with each other and just enjoying life," said Lurwick.

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