Local Athletes Earn Gold Medals at Special Olympics State Competition

Jun 24, 2024

Downers Grove, Ill. – Twenty-eight athletes trained by the South East Association for Special Parks And Recreation (SEASPAR) earned a combined 54 medals, including 26 gold, at the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games in Bloomington-Normal, Ill. June 7-9.

The Summer Games is the largest of the 13 statewide Special Olympics competitions held throughout Illinois each year, and is the final annual

Michael Nowak of Darien proudly carries the SEASPAR banner at the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games Opening Ceremony on June 7, his first state competition at age 55, going on to win silver in his Athletics relay.

competition for the sports of Athletics (track and field), Bocce, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Soccer, and Swimming. More than 3,500 athletes competed at the event at the Illinois State University campus. SEASPAR was represented in all sports but Soccer by a total of 28 athletes.

Eight of the gold medal wins were in the sport of Swimming. One of SEASPAR’s youngest competitors, 16-year-old Conor Mulcahy of La Grange Park, took home three gold medals himself, including one for a freestyle relay with teammates Mark Ploskonka and Chris Tegeler of Darien, and William Porch of Westmont. Aiden Metzl of Woodridge and Sean Kristufek of Western Springs each also earned first place in their 50M events.

Six Powerlifting athletes also took home at least one gold medal each in the events of Bench Press, Deadlift, and/or Combination. These athletes include Ryan Burke and Jack Van Alphen of Western Springs, Denny Fones of Westmont, Trent Oltrogge of Brookfield, TJ Postmus of Downers Grove, and Allen Rosete of Darien.

SEASPAR’s two Rhythmic Gymnastics competitors also earned medals. Anna Cavallo of Downers Grove earned gold in her divisions of the Ribbon and Rope events. Anna Genin, also of Downers Grove, earned gold in the Hoop event. These wins marked the triumphant return of gymnastics to SEASPAR’s Special Olympics repertoire after a five-year hiatus.

In the sport of Bocce, SEASPAR athlete Ron Kamper of Indian Head Park earned a gold medal in the Traditional Singles event. Kamper has been competing at the state level in this sport since 2018.

Three competitors in Athletics (track and field) earned first place in their events. Michael Duffy of Western Springs took gold in his division of Mini Javelin, and Kendall Wright took gold in his division of Running Long Jump. Michael Drabik of Woodridge, a long-time SEASPAR athlete, took gold in the Pentathlon, which combines five individual track and field events into one.

“Special Olympics isn’t all about winning,” said Matthew Corso, Executive Director of SEASPAR. “It’s about developing skills, building confidence, and celebrating inclusion. Still, there are few things more rewarding than seeing the pride on our athletes’ faces when a medal or ribbon is placed around their necks. That award represents a commitment from the athletes, their families, and our coaches to give 100% to their training. It’s important to recognize all of that hard work.”

The SEASPAR athletes dedicated all of their medals to the late Randy Naberhaus, a lifelong Lisle resident and SEASPAR participant who passed away in 2023. This was the first Summer Games in recent memory without Randy competing alongside his brother Gary, who volunteers with SEASPAR.

SEASPAR trains athletes for Special Olympics competitions in Athletics (track and field), Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Flag Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, and Volleyball. SEASPAR’s athletes compete in Special Olympics events throughout the year. Kind and patient coaches are always needed. Apply to volunteer or work as a coach at SEASPAR.org.

For more information about SEASPAR’s Special Olympics program or other recreational programs and services for individuals with disabilities, visit SEASPAR.org or call 630.960.7600.


The South East Association for Special Parks And Recreation (SEASPAR) enriches the lives of individuals with disabilities through recreation. SEASPAR serves the communities of Brookfield, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Indian Head Park, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lemont, Lisle, Western Springs, Westmont, and Woodridge.

Photo Credit: SEASPAR

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