INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) in partnership with Special Olympics, will host the fifth-annual Unified Sports Bowling Championship, Sunday, April 7 at 1 p.m., hosted at Royal Pin Woodland (3421 E 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240).
During the event, over 115 athletes from Special Olympics chapters in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky and student-athletes from HCAC member institutions will team up in an effort to bring home the HCAC/Special Olympics Unified Bowling Championship.
"The Unified Bowling Championship is one of the most impactful programs sponsored by the HCAC," stated HCAC Commissioner Maureen Harty. "This event provides the Special Olympians the opportunity to compete in the uniform of an HCAC institution alongside their HCAC student-athlete teammates. This inclusive event brings two groups together that may not normally interact and allows them to bond over a common love of sport. Our student-athletes learn to embrace the abilities of those with special needs and form new friendships. It truly is a rewarding experience for all involved."
Teams finishing first, second, or third in their flight will receive gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively. Fourth through fifth places will receive ribbons. The institution with the highest score including handicap will be awarded the HCAC championship trophy. This trophy will reside with the award winning team and institution for the year.
The athletes will also be competing for All-HCAC honors at the event. The top nine individuals in the standings will be awarded All-HCAC. The HCAC MVP will be the highest individual bowling score with handicap of the tournament.
Franklin College sophomore Logan Vandermark adds, "Unified Bowling provides an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself, it provides a sense of community. The ability to compete and form friendships in this event is something I'll be forever thankful for."
Unified is a term that reflects athletes with intellectual disabilities and without intellectual disabilities competing together on a team. Each team will have four total members, two with intellectual disabilities and two without intellectual disabilities, with each HCAC member institution sponsoring three teams at the event.
"We are excited to continue our partnership with the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. This tournament demonstrates the power of Unified Sports and showcases how the Inclusion Revolution continues to grow and impacts our athletes as well as the partners that compete alongside them", said Scott Mingle, Director of Sports & Competition of Special Olympics Indiana.
The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference is fortunate to have the following supporting this year's event: Turner Construction, The Screen Machine, The Stacy Barry Team of Century 21 Sheetz. Van Valer Law Firm, and Bardach Awards. Those wishing to donate should contact Commissioner Maureen Harty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (SUNDAY, APRIL 7)
12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m. Registration
12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Practice Bowling
1:00 p.m. - 1:10 p.m. Opening Ceremonies
1:15 p.m. Competition begins
3:00 p.m. No division starts a 3rd game if all bowlers haven't finished a second game.
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Awards Ceremonies