Special Olympics athletes compete in corn toss state tournament

ZIONSVILLE — Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County’s corn toss season wrapped up in interesting fashion.

During the state tournament Sunday at Zionsville Middle School, several of their opponents forfeited, resulting in wins for the duos.

Dale Hickman and Averie Brennan didn’t find out until their first match at 3 p.m. that their opponent didn’t show up, so they advanced to the gold medal match for Division 163. That opponent also didn’t show up, so Hickman and Brennan won the easiest gold medals of the day.

Derrick Martin and Elijah Noble won by the skunk rule in their first match against Johnson County. For Special Olympics, when a team scores the first 11 points of a match, it ends at that point. Martin and Noble had a strong final round that put them ahead 19-0, so the match concluded.

The gold medal match for Division 181 was scheduled for five hours later, and Martin and Noble waited all that time and then found out their opponent didn’t show up, so they won by forfeit and earned gold medals.

Tim Ashburn and Alysha Sandlin were the first Jackson County team to compete Sunday, and they were able to play both matches and win gold medals.

They won both by the skunk rule, 11-0 against St. Joseph County in the first round and 14-0 against Porter County in the gold medal match for Division 154.

“I can’t believe we won,” Sandlin said, smiling, after finishing her second match.

Becky Klosterman and Cassie Brock also were able to play two matches. They lost by the skunk rule 12-0 against Lawrence County, and then in the bronze medal match, they defeated Shelby County 21-5 to place third in Division 153.

Zack Campbell and David Perrin also were scheduled to compete Sunday, but only Perrin was on time for the first match in Division 165, so Jackson County had to forfeit. Sandlin stepped in for Campbell so Perrin could get some practice in, and even though they won the match, the original duo could only compete for participation ribbons.

In the afternoon, Perrin wasn’t available to compete but Campbell was; however, the opponent didn’t show up, so Perrin and Campbell received participation ribbons for their efforts.

Corn toss is among the sports offered as part of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Games, aka EKS Games, which started Aug. 27 and will run through Nov. 19.

Named in honor of Special Olympics’ founder, it’s the second-largest annual sporting event for Special Olympics Indiana. Throughout the fall, state tournaments are held at multiple locations in seven traditional and Unified sports: Corn toss, distance run and walk, flag football, golf, equestrian, softball and volleyball.

More than 2,000 athletes and Unified partners compete in EKS Games and qualifying events leading up to the state finals.