2019 Eastern Fall Sectional

More than 800 Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) athletes traveled to DeSales University for the 20Eastern Fall Sectional, held on Sunday, October 13, 2019. Athletes from a number of eastern Pennsylvania programs will compete in team and individual events in five sports including bocce (doubles & Unified Sports® doubles), long-distance walking/running, powerlifting, soccer (Individual skill, 5v5, 7v7, and 11v11), and volleyball (team, unified and individual skills). 77 athletes from Philadelphia joined over 800 athletes from 18 other counties for the Eastern Fall Sectional. 

The daylong event kicked off on the turf field behind Billera Hall, where athletes, coaches, families, and volunteers gathered for the Opening Ceremonies. Jennifer Peterson, who’s been competing with Special Olympics for 20 years, spoke about her new role as a global messenger and how the organization has helped her to build confidence. “I wanted to become a global messenger so I can talk to others about Special Olympics, tell them how it changed my life and the life of my family, and so I can hopefully inspire others to become athletes, mentors, coaches, or volunteers. Being in Special Olympics has made me a better person.” During the ceremonies, Tim Kerrihard of Special Olympics Pennsylvania recognized Sarah Knop ’19 and Hannah Pergolizzi ’19—last year’s event directors—as the Special Olympics organizing committee’s volunteers of the year. He credited the two with helping to bring the Eastern Fall Sectional to DeSales and for creating the first unified events on campus to help promote inclusion. “Although this is traditionally just a single-person nomination, I can’t separate the work that these two ladies have done together as a team,” Kerrihard said. “They stand out as some of the strongest leaders I have ever had the opportunity to work with. Their willingness to give of themselves for the benefit of others is truly unmatched.”

After the lighting of the flame of hope—which represents the determination of the athletes—the games began. Athletes were put to the test in five events: soccer, volleyball, powerlifting, bocce ball, and cross country running/walking. The Eastern Fall Sectional is the University’s largest service event of the year where hundreds of students—including the entire freshman class—volunteer. Nearly100 freshmen served as a local program host—guiding a specific county of athletes around campus for the day and cheering them on.

Congratulations to all of our athletes and thank you to all of our coaches who have helped our athletes get this far. Now on to Fall Fest! 





*Indicates the individual or team will advance to Fall Festival! 

Team Athletes Place
Team 1 Pam Galone & Kevin Karcher 1st Place
Team 2* Alivia Sciarra & Tracey McGarvey 1st Place
Team 3* Kirstyn Cantres & Christina DiVergilis 2nd Place
Team Athletes Place
Strikers United (Unified 7v7)* Joseph Rynkiewicz, Matthew Grabowski, Ryan Bogan, Brian Stulz, Angel Rodriguez, Charles Zisette, Danny Charlton, Sam Fiorvanti Jr, Carl Irvis, Jesse Rose, Jason Bixby, Michael Castillo, Matthew Beckman 2nd
All-Stars (7v7)* Mitchel Stahl, Ian Capacio, Michael Castillo, Justin Martinez, Sam Fioravanti Jr, Jesse Rose, Carl Irvis, Matt Beckman, Charles Zisette, Derrick Jackson, Jason Bixby 3rd
Stars and Stripes (5v5)* Allison Davidson, Jackie Lutts, Danny Amrik, Emmett Abdo, Heather Lutts, Lisa Barbour, Kristie Walls, Eddie Glover 3rd
Team Athletes Place
Philly Rocket Serves*

Allison Ruitzer, Carlyn Robinson, Kelly Dluzniewski, Stanley Dluzniewski, Latif, Marissa Williams, Francis Bradshaw, Jabari Patterson, Joe Barut

1st Place
Green Lightning    
Volleyball skills
Cyla Bradshaw* 1st Place