SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- Hundreds of Westchester County's most competitive Special Olympics athletes gathered under sunny skies with more than 2,000 fans and volunteers in attendance for the 2014 Hudson Valley Spring Games East Saturday at Sleepy Hollow High School.
"It's just been a great experience for the village, the school district and the student volunteers," Sleepy Hollow Schools Athletic Director Chuck Scarpulla said. "The community has given such wonderful support for the schools' Pioneer Team athletes and this event for the second year."
Athletes from all over the Hudson Valley gathered to receive awards for the season, honor the top athletes and to light the Olympic flame. The Sleepy Hollow Headless Horseman was also on hand for the pre-Games festivities.
Todd Teegarden of Yorktown Heights was one of the first winners of the day taking first in the javelin throw.
"Yup, I had a very good throw on the first one and was the winner in first place," Teegarden said before he had to run to his next event. "I'm doing real good."
Sleepy Hollow High varsity football player Jordan Brown joined his and dozens of classmates and teammates as volunteer spotters and assistant officials.
"As athletes we know how much work it is to train and these (Special Olympics) athletes take their sports seriously, it's no joke," Brown said. "We are really enjoying them being here at Sleepy Hollow and watching how they compete."
Dr. Patricia Seagriff, a dentist at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and a coordinator for the Special Smiles program with Westchester/Putnam Special Olympics, received an award for her commitment to the program.
"It has been wonderful to be a prt of the Special Olympics ans (Saturday) is another great event for us with Special Smiles," Seagriff said.
Todd Saturn, a Mahopac sprinter, epitomized the Special Olympians' resolve to compete despite not getting the gold medal. Young Saturn was bumped and fell halfway through the 100 meter dash, but picked himself up and finished the race to the delight of the crowd and his parents.
"He loves to be out there and he showed us he wasn't going to quit," Vincent Saturn said of his son. "We love the way the athletes pull for each other. Todd gave it everything and made it to the finish line."