Special Olympics – Meet the Athletes May 15
Special Olympics kicks off Wednesday and Mustang has 43 athletes headed to the games for the annual competition.
Athletes train for months and work hard to be part of the games. Although they are all very different, they share one very important trait, their teachers and parents say – they are dedicated and hard-working.
Here are the athletes:
Casey John Cozart
Casey is 13 and in seventh grade. He loves music and dancing. VeggieTales, SpongeBob, Elmo, the Muppets and most Disney Pixar movies are his favorites, especially Toy Story. He loves jumping on the trampoline and being outside.
Casey has competed in the games since he was 8, running the 50-meter run and softball throw at Weatherford Regional and at the state Special Olympics. He is also a bowler and loves playing all sports and is a good basketball shooter.
Casey’s parents are Peggy Thompson and John Cozart. Other family members include siblings, Michael and Jessy Thompson and his cat, Goober, who jumps on the trampoline with him.
“He is the most loving little guy I know,” his dad, John, says.
Darylyn is a 20-year-old senior at Mustang High School. She loves, really loves hockey, attending all of the Oklahoma City Barons games and watching games at home whenever she can’t be there in person. She loves Mexican food, pizza, singing and watching Barney.
Darylyn competes in the 50-meter dash and softball throw, having won medals in both events over the years. She loves the opening ceremonies, spending time with her friends and the dance during Special Olympics.
Darylyn’s parents are Christy and Mark Clemons and brother, Kylee Clemons.
Tanner is 30 and he loves spending time with his nieces, McKenzie, 9, and 6-year-old Dakota.
Tanner loves Mexican food, going to the movies, playing his Xbox and Thunder games.
He has been an athlete for seven years, throwing the discus, softball and running the 50-yard and 100-yard dashes. Tanner has won 11 medals and especially loves the Thursday night dance held during the games.
Tanner’s parents are Linda and Jerry Flowers. His brother, Adam, is a lieutenant with Canadian County Sheriff’s Department.
“We are very grateful for the Mustang Special Olympics group,” Tanner’s mom, Linda, said. “It gives Tanner the opportunity to participate in social activities and have friends he can interact with.”
Grace is 9 years old and in second grade.
She loves macaroni and cheese and her favorite cartoon is “The Regular Show.” She watches Despicable Me every day, her parents say.
This year is Grace’s first competing in Special Olympics, although she has bowled before and has a third-place ribbon in bocce ball.
Grace’s parents are Joseph and Brandie Gitzendanner and her siblings are Christin, Caleb, Jacob and Sarah.
Gregory is a 13-year-old seventh-grader. He moved with his family to Mustang in 2005. Gregory loves the weather and he loves trains – being outside is one of his favorite things, as is eating. One highlight Gregory had this year was meeting Mike Morgan.
This is Gregory’s second year participating in Special Olympics. He placed first earlier this year in bowling and he competes in track and field events.
Gregory’s parents are Greg and April Green and his siblings are Brianna, Autumn and Isiah.
“We think it is a great opportunity for Gregory to socialize with peers and have fun,” his parents said.
Charlie is 11 and is in fourth grade.
He is blessed with many grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who love him. His nanny keeps him after school, and they have a lot of fun. Charlie loves music and he is learning to play the piano. He always wants to play outside and enjoys running fast and swinging as high as he can. He loves space and is always looking at the stars.
Charlie has been participating in Special Olympics for three years and his favorite activity is track.
Charlie lives with his dad, Nick, and his stepmom, Denise. His mom’s name is Crystal. He has two brothers, Thomas and Tyler, and a little sister, KT.
Tucker is an 8-year-old second grader. He likes Max and Ruby. His favorite foods are chips and dip and ice. He loves to ride in the car.
This is Tucker’s first year in Special Olympics and he will participate in the 25-meter walk.
His lives with his mom and dad, Rebecca and Bobby McCallie, and he has a brother, Brody, and two sisters, Ashton and Adyson.