New Changes Enhance Phase 1 to Emphasize Togetherness


Jack Carlson, Student of Journalism

The Phase 1 basketball game was held to support Special Olympics and the student body in the Ron Einerson Fieldhouse on Thursday (Nov. 22).  

To the special athletes, this event means more than a game. For them, it is a way to embrace themselves with the rest of the student body. “This event is so special for me and my athletes. This is the highlight of our year,” head coach Chad Oeftger said. Oeftger has been the head coach for the past six years, leading the team to many victories. He loves how students embrace the event that come together to create a great night. 

The game is an annual tradition that has continued for the last six years. Changes this year included a mix of special athletes and students to emphasize a sense of togetherness. Winter sports were highlighted in many ways including helping in warmups and a dance at halftime by the volleyball team. A tunnel was created by winter sports for everyone that played in the game. This involvement created atmosphere through the event to unite the student body.  

“Over the past few weeks, a lot of time and effort has been put toward the event,” senior Zachary Ziegert said. Many people put an enormous amount of hours to run this event, especially SALT.  

The special athletes and students won on a last second shot by Otis to beat the teachers. The coach of the teachers, Todd Jacobsen, was called for a technical foul that lead to the game winning shot by Otis. The special olympians winning capped off an amazing night full of fun and excitement. 

Students of all ages came to support the special athletes and the teachers and students who played. The student body was electric, making it feel like the Roman Colosseum. The theme was white out, creating a sea of white in the student section. Chants were lead by senior Jacob Kaszuba against the teachers, igniting the students. 

 The event was run by SALT; a Student Athlete Leadership Team that is driven to change the atmosphere in the high school. Seniors Maria Sorenson and Zachary Ziegert were the student SALT leaders in charge; adviser Tracy McClowry oversaw all functions from SALT. SALT carried the role of leader on their backs to create this special event.

Prior to the event, Phase 1 shirts were sold at all lunches during school hours for $10. While students wore white, teachers wore red to take the role as the villain. SALT worked with the special olympians to make banners and put them throughout the school. Special signs were made for the athletes. They also worked during the event to make sure it ran efficiently.  


For more information on special olympics basketball, clink on the website highlighted here. 


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