Thanks to Mount Saint Mary College’s dedicated student-athletes and some help from the community, the Mount Knights were recently declared the winners of the NCAA Division III Special Olympics Spotlight Poll.
The prize: $500, to be used for the Mount’s next Special Olympics event.
The NCAA’s Special Olympics Spotlight Poll features stories each month that highlight a Division III and Special Olympics joint activity or event. The story with the highest number of votes from the community is the winner. For more information, visit ncaa.org/D3SpecialOlympics.
The Mount was nominated for the poll following its March 5 basketball clinic with Special Olympians from around the Hudson Valley. (See the story at msmc.edu/Olympics.) Members of the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams led the Olympians in various skill stations and games. The Mount student-athletes and the Olympians ended the evening with a pizza party.
Out of three colleges vying for the honor, the Mount walked away with 709 out of 1,285 total votes, or 55 percent.
“This recognition goes beyond winning a competition – it is a perfect summation of what our student-athletes do beyond their field of play,” noted Jessica Mushel, Mount Athletic Director. “They are dedicated students and members of their community and I am so proud.”
The March 5 event at the Mount was brainchild of Shannon Christiano of Yaphank, N.Y., a Nursing student who graduated in May 2020. Christiano, who served as president of the Mount’s Student Nurses’ Association, recently received two awards for her outstanding achievements during her time as an undergraduate student: the AMA NY Future Nurse Leader Award and a Senior Class Award for Outstanding Leadership.
“We are so grateful she began this annual collaboration with the Mount’s Athletic Department,” said Mushel.
Ryan Kadlubowski, head Men’s Basketball coach at the Mount, was pleased with how the March event turned out.
“It was great to see all of the Special Olympians and our student-athletes coming together and participating in this now annual clinic,” he said. “It was a pleasure to see both the Olympians and our players having so much fun and learning from one another. We hope we can continue this tradition for many years to come.”
Colleen Ames, head women’s coach, echoed his sentiment. “This was an awesome opportunity for our student-athletes to get involved in the community. We are so thankful to share the gym with the Olympians and we look forward to keeping it going in the future.”