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Courtesy of Dani Ackerman, New Paltz SAAC President

On Sunday, April 3, the SAAC committee at New Paltz hosted a Special Olympics Unified Basketball Tournament for the fourth year in a row. Ten student-athletes volunteered their time throughout the semester to practice with the special Olympians for this big event. The unified aspect of this unique event allowed student-athletes the chance to participate in this competitive tournament alongside the special olympians.

This year New Paltz hosted 10 teams for the tournament. There were four games going on at once throughout the tournament. Student-athletes served as refs, scorekeepers, timekeepers, guides, and players. All of the student-athletes did a fantastic job running the tournament this year. Everyone is quick to lend a helping hand and remain involved throughout this entire event. This has certainly become a highly anticipated event every year! This is the biggest event New Paltz has ever hosted as a SAAC committee.

New Paltz SAAC dedicated months of planning to make sure this event is executed with high energy and effort. The commitment of the committee really flourishes in the weeks leading up to this event. Every member of the athlete community at New Paltz serves an important role in pulling off this event. It is amazing to see the way the student athletes, faculty and community come together in order to make this event successful and fun for everyone involved.

The special Olympians and their families were thanking athletes throughout the event. This basketball tournament means the world to them and they love coming back every year. By the end of the tournament they are already talking about next years’ event! This experience is incredibly humbling. This basketball tournament gets bigger and bigger every year. New Paltz SAAClooks forward to doing it again next year.