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Athletes give their all at Special Olympics

The Special Olympics torch is carried down the track to begin the Minnesota Special Olympics Area 3 Track and Field competition Saturday at Cloqeut High School. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal1 / 2
Special Olympians from Cloquet Schools compete in the 50-meter run during Saturday's Special Olympics Area 3 Track and Field competition at Bromberg Field. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal2 / 2

The rain held off until near the end of Saturday's Minnesota Special Olympics Area 3 Track and Field competition, although athletes in some of the final races got soaked, said organizer and local Pinewood coach Kyle Maunu.

Considering the cold temperatures and wind of Lake Superior, turnout for the annual event was excellent, with close to 300 athletes and 200 spectators and volunteers. Area 3 includes two teams from Cloquet — Pinewood and Cloquet High School — plus other teams from around the Arrowhead region and as far away as Grand Rapids.

The weather didn't quench the athletes' enthusiasm, Maunu said.

"'Enthusiastic' is an understatement," he said. "And, because of the weather, we weren't able to give them ribbons, so they're still very excited to do that here at Pinewood and the other places in Area 3."

Maunu said it was a successful, fun day for everyone, made possible with the help of many volunteers from many different organizations. More than one Kiwanis club volunteered Saturday, along with Webelo Boys Scout troop from Esko, Cloquet and Proctor track team members, Us TOO prostate cancer group, among others.

"It's really nice to see all the support we get," Maunu said.