Rim Country Olympians Rake In Medals

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The Payson Special Olympics team wrapped up one of its most successful seasons in two decades by winning 25 medals at the Arizona state championships in Tempe.

The 23 local athletes competing in the state finals May 20-22 at Arizona State University captured 10 individual gold, four silver and 11 bronze medals. In the relay events, Payson won four golds, eight silvers and 11 bronze medals. The team also received numerous ribbons for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place finishes.

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The Payson Special Olympian team shined during the Arizona State Olympics in Tempe. The team is shown in the Special Olympics Torch parade held at the completion of the games.

"(The athletes) did great. We had a real successful year," coach Ruby Lane said.

The season, which began in early February with twice a week practices, culminated with the state championships.

"The only time we missed any practices was during spring break," Lane said.

Of the 25 athletes who turned out at the onset of the season, only two did not finish.

Early in the campaign, the team tuned up at two area meets, one at Bradshaw Mountain and another at Scottsdale Coronado.

According to Lane, the athletes tabbed the Bradshaw Mountain skirmish the "icebox meet" because of the freezing temperatures and Scottsdale the "marathon" because of its extreme length.

"Some athletes and coaches didn't get home until midnight," Lane said. The meet began about noon.

With the culmination of the season, the athletes will take a break from competition before preparations begin for fall games in other sports.

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