May be hard to believe for sports enthusiasts, but athletes are needed from Essex, Westmoreland, Lancaster, Northumberland and Richmond counties that make up Area 28 (Rappahannock Region Special Olympics). As the New Year continues to unwind, the Area 28 Special Olympics organization is preparing for two sporting events to begin in February.
On Feb. 2, athletes will travel to Virginia Beach for the Polar Plunge Winter Festival and then return the following Saturday for Area 28’s Region Basketball Tournament at Northumberland High School starting at 9 a.m.
Coordinator Tammy Wilkins said this year’s basketball tournament will be amazing as they expect 160 athletes from King George and Fredericksburg counties to join those from the local area.
“It’s growing every year,” said Wilkins, adding that this will be the fourth year Area 28 has hosted it.
Area 28 athletes have been preparing for the basketball tournament twice a week and when not practicing, they are bowling down pins in Kilmarnock.
“The kids love people come to cheer,” Wilkins said, urging the public to come out and support the athletes.
“It’s a moving experience and so much fun,” said volunteer Chris Cammarata.
Wilkins said representatives of Area 28 would also be coordinating for the fifth straight regional track meet at Northumberland High School during the spring.
On Feb. 2, athletes from Area 28 will dive into the Atlantic Ocean to help raise funds for Virginia’s Special Olympics. According to Virginia’s Polar Plunge web site, since its beginning 20 years ago, more than 33,000 plungers have raised more than $7.5 million for Special Olympics Virginia.
There is cost to participate. Visit Area 28 on Facebook or call 804-761-3206 if you have questions, wish to participate or volunteer.