Jayhawks Partner with Special Olympics for Golf Benefit

LAWRENCE, Kan. – A few sprinkles on the first two holes did nothing to dampen the spirits of participants or slow the torrid pace of Team Lawson Screen and Digital as Kansas Athletics and its student-athletes helped with the Kansas Athletics Golf Classic supporting Douglas County Special Olympics at Alvamar Golf Club Monday.   

Kansas director of athletics Sheahon Zenger started the 18-hole scramble, Jayhawk volleyball coach Ray Bechard was the guest speaker at the banquet and a handful of current Jayhawks helped with registration and the putting contest at the annual event co-sponsored by the National Information Consortium (NIC).

Team Lawson Screen and Digital carded an impressive 18-under 54, taking full advantage of the four-person scramble format to the tournament, the largest fundraiser for Douglas County Special Olympics. Organizers again set their goal at $15,000 and were nearing that mark with pre-registrations and hoped to surpass the target with on-course contests and silent auction items.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the tournament benefit the local chapter, a volunteer-run organization that provides year-round training to individuals with special needs in the Douglas County area. Tournament funds, which account for nearly 75 percent of the annual budget, will assist in purchasing sports equipment, uniforms and defraying the cost of tournaments and travel.

A group of KU student-athletes, including volleyball sophomore-to-be Taylor Soucie, assisted with the putting challenge on the practice green outside the clubhouse, working in concert with Special Olympians to welcome participants. For Soucie, that partnership proved to be the highlight of the day.  

“They’re often the ones in the front row, yelling the loudest at our volleyball matches,” Soucie said of the Special Olympians. “It’s really exciting to see how excited they get about watching us play, so it’s really nice to give back a little bit and do something that they can get enjoyment from like we do.

“I’ve worked with a lot of these athletes before in our Special Olympics volleyball camp, so it’s fun see them again and to say hi and really see how much they enjoy all of this.”  
For more information about Douglas County Special Olympics visit www.dcsojayhawks.org.

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