Special Olympics Wisconsin’s State Indoor Sports Tournament will be returning to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Kolf Sports Center this weekend for some exciting basketball action.
Special Olympics Wisconsin’s annual state basketball tournament will include 56 traditional teams playing in a round-robin format throughout the weekend, as well as the second year of a 3 vs. 3 Unified basketball tournament. The Unified tournament will include nine teams composed of 15 Unified partners playing alongside Special Olympics athletes. Between the two tournaments, there will be a total of 537 individuals from around the state competing this weekend.
The southeastern part of the state will be well represented this year, with a whopping 10 teams from region 7 qualifying. All of the Walworth County Special Olympics teams qualified for state, while the Janesville Jets will be back in action at state for the first time in several years.
Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Healthy Athletes program, which gives the athletes access to free eye exams, dental screenings and hearing exams, will be returning as a core feature of the Indoor Sports Tournament. Special Olympics athletes in attendance – even those not competing – will be able to get screened through Healthy Athletes at the Gruenhagen Conference Center. The Indoor Sports Tournament helps more athletes get these critical screenings than any Special Olympics Wisconsin event outside of the annual Summer Games at UW-Stevens Point.
New this year, Special Olympics Wisconsin staff and volunteers will be debuting a shuffleboard demonstration Saturday night. Everyone in attendance will be invited to join in the fun after the conclusion of the Celebration Ceremony.
Another new feature of this year’s tournament is the Fan Zone, a way for friends and family to bring their cheering to new levels as they witness the grit, determination & joy displayed by each and every one of the athletes. Fans can stop by the Fan Zone table in the Kolf Sports Center to create signs that demonstrate who, or what, they are “cheering4” during the tournament.
Special Olympics Wisconsin is proud to once again partner with UW-Oshkosh for this event, one of the organization’s largest and most popular tournaments. UW-Oshkosh has served as the host of the event since 1976.
“Our University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus and the Department of Residence Life Conference Services team have been hosting the Special Olympics Wisconsin Indoor Sports Tournament for over 35 consecutive years. It is difficult to put into words the privilege and honor it has been for us to host this tournament over that period of time. Special Olympics Wisconsin is an organization that all UW-Oshkosh students, staff, faculty and alumni know and love,” said Marc Nylen, Director of UW-Oshkosh’s Gruenhagen Conference Center. “We will have over 100 of our current students as well as Oshkosh community members volunteering their time to serve the needs of the athletes, coaches and Special Olympics staff. The spirit of sportsmanship is on full display throughout the weekend, and this is something that we value, appreciate and hold in high regard. UW-Oshkosh is the perfect venue and Wisconsin’s Event City: Oshkosh are the ideal hosts for this incredible tournament.”
In addition to hosting the Indoor Sports Tournament, UW-Oshkosh helps facilitate and organize many of the volunteers needed to run this tournament. This year Special Olympics Wisconsin expects over 500 volunteers to participate over the two day tournament. Volunteers from UW-Oshkosh range from students to faculty members, all with one goal in mind – giving back.