Salters named Special Olympics Athlete of the Year

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Madison County Special Olympics’ top honors went to: (from left) Lincoln Comer, coach of the year; Courtney Salters, athlete of the year, Dave Mabe representing Mabe’s Clothing & Athletic Apparel, organization of the year; Shaundra Sayre, winner of Savannah’s Heart of a Champion Award; and Laura Cotton, fan of the year.

(Posted Feb. 7, 2019)

Madison County Special Olympics, affiliated with the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD), announced the winners of its annual recognition awards. Heading the list was Courtney Salters, named Athlete of the Year.

Special Olympics athletes, staff and community members involved with the program voted on the award recipients.

Salters has shown her versatility as an athlete with participation in several sports throughout the years. In 2018, she was the leading scorer for the Tigers’ 11-1 Div. IV basketball team, was an integral part of Madison County’s Div. I state champion volleyball squad, played second base for the Tigers’ 11-2 Div. I unified state runner-up softball team, quarterbacked the Tigers’ Div. I bronze medal-winning flag football squad, and even tried her hand at alpine skiing.

“Courtney has shown great range as an athlete and has excelled in many sports,” said Lincoln Comer, director of Special Olympics and community recreation for MCBDD. “She has also taken tremendous steps as a team leader and is extremely dedicated in all her endeavors.”

A newcomer to Madison County Special Olympics, Mason Weimer has already proved to be a role model, earning Volunteer of the Year honors. He started as partner on the unified softball team, which led to officiating home basketball games, helping with flag football, assisting with field maintenance, and doing some coaching on the hardwood.

“Since his arrival as a volunteer, Mason has been a constant source of inspiring energy,” Comer said. “His warm smile, pleasant demeanor and words of encouragement have impacted our young athletes in a positive manner.”

Again this year, Madison County Special Olympics honored an organization that has offered support to enhance the program. This year’s recipient of the Organization of the Year award is Mabe’s Clothing & Athletic Apparel of London.

Mabe’s has been a long-time supporter of Special Olympics, assisting with apparel for sports teams at a reasonable rate.

“Mabe’s has always accommodated our last-minute needs no matter how big or small, while delivering that smalltown personal touch that has been lost in today’s shuffle,” Comer said. “It is organizations like Mabe’s which really make our community a special place to live and one we can be proud of.”

When she’s not participating as part of the Tigers’ track and field squad, Laura Cotton supports her fellow Special Olympians in the stands at basketball, football and softball games. This supporting spirit earned her Fan of the Year honors.

“Laura is a true supporter of our program, as well as a dedicated Special Olympian,” Comer said. “It is the support from true fans like Laura that inspires our athletes to strive to reach their goals.”

Special Olympics athlete Shaundra Sayre was honored with the Savannah’s Heart of a Champion Award for her competitive, ferocious spirit, earning her the moniker, “The Beast.” Named in memory of former Special Olympics athlete Savannah Wilson, the award recognizes a person who displays courage, determination, and class on and off the court.

“Shaundra not only became Madison County’s first female powerlifter but also the first gold medal-winning female powerlifter,” Comer said. “There is no one who pours more of their heart into the task at hand than Shaundra Sayre.”

A man for all (sports) seasons, Lincoln Comer was recognized as Coach of the Year.

His 2018 coaching accomplishments included the Tigers Div. III 10-3 basketball team, a Div. I state title-winning traditional volleyball team, a player/coach on the Tigers Div. I unified softball squad that placed second in the state, and leader of the flag football team that earned third place.

Comer also was honored for being the force behind Madison County’s three Special Olympics basketball teams.

For more information about Special Olympics in Madison County, contact Comer at (740) 852-7052, ext. 1917.

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