While the Kansas University men’s basketball team ended Saturday with a devastating loss, dozens of other area hoopsters returned to Lawrence as winners.
Douglas County Special Olympians brought home two gold, two silver and two bronze medals over the weekend at the State Basketball and Cheerleading Tournament in Hays.
Danny Lenz, sports coordinator, said the thrill of competing and having fun at the annual event trumped the excitement of March Madness.
“The athletes pay attention to the games during the day, but when it’s time for them … to play their games, they couldn’t care less,” he said.
More than 50 local athletes made the trip to Hays, supported by dozens of friends and family.
Renae Saathoff, who helped coach her sister, Becky, in Hays, said the athletes look forward to the event, as well as the legendary Friday night dance, all year.
“It’s like their vacation,” she said. “I think it’s the highlight of their year.”
Becky, also supported by her mom, dad and cousin, said she’s looking forward to telling her friends about the tournament.
“I’ll tell them I did good this weekend,” said Becky, who took home two silver medals — one for cheerleading and one for basketball. “Going with the team was fun. I hope I get to come back next year.”