If you participate in bowling, you’ve probably already realized that our sports calendar is undergoing some changes. Starting in this year, SOMO will offer two state events, State Summer Games and State Fall Games, plus new district- and regional-level events. Our plan is that the new levels of competition will allow more opportunities for athletes to compete with less travel. In addition, our state events will be expanded to offer more chances for our athletes to receive health screenings and socialize with friends across the state.
With the rising cost of gas and increasingly busier schedules, we sometimes have teams opt out of state events to save money and/or time. We wanted to create new opportunities for our athletes to compete closer to home. Adding district- and regional-level events will not only satisfy that need, but it will also bring the magic of Special Olympics to additional communities.
So, what are the new events? Click here for a visual breakdown.
- We have added two district bowling competitions in March. Any athlete who competed at the area level may advance to districts. Athletes from Northwest, KC Metro, Southwest, Central, and Northeast areas will compete in St. Joseph March 2-3. Athletes from St. Louis Metro, Southeast, Northeast, and Central areas will compete in St. Charles March 17-18. A coach may request permission from their Area Director to attend the competition opposite to which they are assigned. These events will include an overnight stay for out-of-area teams. Athletes must earn a gold or silver medal to advance from districts to state. State competition in bowling will now take place during State Summer Games.
- We have also added two regional basketball competitions in March. As it has been in the past, any athlete who competed at the area level in basketball may advance to districts, and they must earn a gold or silver at districts to advance to regionals. Teams from KC Metro, Northwest, Southwest, Central, and Northeast areas will compete at North Kansas City and Park Hill schools March 24. Teams from St. Louis Metro, Southeast, Northeast and Central areas will compete in Wentzville March 31. A coach may request permission from their Area Director to attend the competition opposite to which they are assigned. These events will include an overnight stay for out-of-area teams. Athletes must earn a gold medal at regionals to advance to state. State competition in basketball will now take place during State Summer Games.
- If the number of softball teams continues to grow, we may add regional softball competition in 2013. This year, any teams who compete at the area tournament may advance to districts. Teams must earn a gold or silver medal at districts to advance to State Fall Games.
Athletes may participate in all sports up until state competition. Athletes will be allowed to compete in one individual sport and one team sport at the state level. The same goes for coaches. Click here for a visual illustration of how athletes can advance through each sport.
Here’s how the sports fit in at the two state events:
State Summer Games: Columbia, May 29 – June 1, including aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling, powerlifting and volleyball.
State Fall Games: Cape Girardeau, October 11 – 14, including bocce, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, and tennis.
You’ll notice volleyball competition has been moved to State Summer Games, which means area competition will now take place in April. Bocce and soccer competition have been moved to State Fall Games, which means area tournaments will be held between June and October. Golf, softball and tennis competitions may be adjusted slightly from previous years to allow for state competition in October.
Each sport will be evaluated at the end of each sports season to determine if we need to realign sports in an effort to continue to grow and maintain participation in the current sports. The numbers will be evaluated and compared to the average participation between the competition years of 2008-2013.
Competitions at the local, area, district and regional levels will remain FREE of charge for the athletes. state, national and world games will continue to be an opportunity for athletes and teams/agencies to raise money at the grass roots level. The cost per athlete to attend state games in 2012 is $50. Since housing is one of our largest expenses, teams may choose not to stay in the provided lodging and receive a 50% discount per athlete ($25).
We hope you will enjoy the new opportunities this year. Check out our FAQ document for additional details. If any of your questions have not been answered, please leave them in the comments below.