Athletes from Columbia and Richmond counties competed Friday at Evans High School in the premier event for area adapted sports.
Anne Comer, a recreation therapist who serves various Columbia County schools, estimated 35 physically disabled athletes participated in the track and field event at Evans.
Boys and girls of all grade levels competed in six events each -- four field events and two races. Field events included bocce, softball throw and a precision throw. Race distances ranged from 10 to 100 meters.
"There was some good competition, some close races and we were very pleased with how it turned out," Comer said. "The kids had a good day."
Comer said students were seeded based on how they had performed during P.E. classes leading up to the event. For the track event, athletes were grouped according to times and types of mobility. Some athletes competed in wheelchairs, some in power chairs, and some walked.
Field events were grouped according to age and gender.
Zachary Jones, a fourth-grader at Glenn Hills Elementary, finished first in a wheelchair race and second in softball throw. He said he has been competing in wheelchair sports the past four years.
"I get to ride the bus," said Jones, who normally carpools, describing what he enjoyed about the event. "And I get to see my friends."
Akeem Daggett, a junior at Josey High School, won two races and finished third in the softball throw.
Daggett said he plays wheelchair basketball and soccer through Richmond County's adapted sports program.
Comer and fellow recreational therapist MiMi Tom said the adapted track and field event was the culmination of the students' year. The two also work with the Special Olympics, which held an event at Greenbrier High on March 20 with more than 200 athletes competing.
Friday's event was much smaller in scale.
Comer and Tom travel to various schools to work with disabled students in P.E. classes. Preparation for Friday's event included practicing individual events in class and increasing endurance. Many of the students also participate in area adapted sports programs.
Comer and Tom said the competition gives the athletes a sense of confidence and recognition, and that students started asking about the event weeks in advance.
"Kids shine out here," Tom said. "They really look forward to it."
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