Special Olympic athletes from Craig shine at state competition

The 2002 Colorado Summer Games have come to an end and Craig's Special Olympics Team has brought home the gold, and the silver and the bronze, too.

All told, the team won 29 medals, including 12 gold medals, nine silver medals and eight bronze medals.

The Summer Games took place May 31 through June 2 in Fort Collins.

The team competed in aquatics, power lifting and track and field events.

"They were awesome," said track and field coach Cheryl Chase. "We came home with a lot of golds and everybody had a good time. They all did great."

Craig's aquatic team took home four gold medals, seven silver medals and five bronze medals.

J'Lea Dalton won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle and a bronze medal in the 50-meter backstroke.

Josh Dalton won gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle and another in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Jamie Ogden won silver medals in 15-meter flotation, 15-meter unassisted and one in 25-meter flotation.

Kylee Ogden also took home three silver medals, placing second in the 25-meter, 50-meter and 100-meter backstroke competitions.

Jaremie Ogden won a silver medal in 25-meter flotation and two bronze medals total in 15-meter flotation and 15-meter unassisted.

J.D. Dalton won two bronze medals, one in the 400-meter freestyle and the other in the 200-meter freestyle.

J'Lea Dalton, Josh Dalton, Jeremy Dalton and Trina Chase all took home a gold medal for their first place finish in the 4 x 25 freestyle unified partner relay.

Aquatics coach Bonnie Dalton said all of the team members have good reason to be proud.

"From the start of the year, they all improved," Dalton said. "They really did. Probably the most improved was Jaremie Ogden. He's a brand new athlete, and he did all the assisted and flotation device races."

Dalton also said that J'Lea may have the opportunity to compete at the International Special Olympics, thanks to her performance at the Summer Games. The worldwide event will be held in 2003, in Dublin, Ireland. J'Lea will receive one chance for each gold medal in an open draw for participants.

The track and field team won five gold medals, two silver medals and three bronze medals.

Jessey Fourtney won a gold medal in the softball throw, a silver medal in the 100-meter dash and a bronze medal for the running long jump.

Josh Chase won a gold medal in the shot put, and bronze medals in the 800-meter dash and the running long jump.

C.J. Knight won a gold medal in the shot put and a silver medal in the 200-meter dash.

Brendan Harper won two gold medals, one in the 25-meter wheelchair obstacle course and one in the 50-meter straight race.

The power lifting team left the games with nothing but gold medals.

Grant Dalton won a gold medal for his bench press of 292 pounds.

Jim Herrera won a gold medal in the bench press, as did Joe Herrera.

"My husband, Billy, is our power lifting coach, and he was really thrilled," Chase said. "This is the first year for power lifting for the Craig team. He took three athletes and Grant Dalton lifted an amazing 292 pounds. Grant only has the use of his arms. He uses a walker and a wheelchair and cannot use the lower half of his body, so he did awesome. No one was even close to his scores."

Chase also praised the efforts of the aquatics team.

"The swimmers really walked away with a lot of golds," Chase said. "They were great. They've got a strong swim team here, a real strong swim team."

In addition to the team's strong performance, Kylee Ogden was bestowed with the honor of addressing the participants at the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies.

The event, which was held at Colorado State University, hosted 1,255 Special Olympics athletes and unified sports partners, 200 Special Olympics coaches, 600 Summer Games volunteers and more than 300 family members.

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