HELENA — In conjunction with the Carroll College Special Olympics club, the Helena Halos are in their first year of existence. The team was built to bridge the gap between youth Special Olympics and adult Special Olympics. The Halos feature plenty of decorated Special Olympians from the ages of 18 to 23.
Though this is the first year for the Halos, it’s not the first for any of these athletes. Last year's cancellation took a toll on them, but athletes like Gracie Gribbons and Kyle Norman are happy to be back with their new team.
“It's really amazing. I love coming back to it. It was a tough year. And I was glad I looked forward to this year and I enjoy it so much,” said Gribbons.
“It feels really good to be back out because I get to see all my friends and interact with my team now,” said Norman.
The Carroll College Special Olympics club that works in partnership with the Halos started a little bit before the Halos came together, and members of the clubs work as unified partners that compete alongside the Halos' athletes. For club president Cara White, it’s one of the best times of her week.
“It's been so much fun, honestly. I'm a nursing student, it's really high stress all the time, so this day, honestly, for me, it's just like the one day of the week where I can just take an hour and a half and just have no stress, just have a ton of fun and hang out with a bunch of friends that I've made through this organization,” said White.
As for the Helena Halos athletes, what’s their favorite aspect of the team?
"I like doing track, I like doing bocce, turbo (javelin), and doing swimming and running," said Tanner Davis.
“I would have to say doing the sports would have to be my favorite experience,” said Norman.
“I would say just getting out there and socializing with people and competing. I love competing with people and having fun,” said Gribbons.