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Special Olympics coming to area

Darleene Barrientos

Some 700 athletes will hit the fields of Glendale High School today

to compete in the Special Olympics Southern California Tri Valley

regional games.


“We’re going nuts, if you want to know the truth,” said Jan

Maseda, the Tri Valley’s regional director.

About 700 athletes ranging in age from 8 to 80 will compete in

basketball, tennis, bocce ball, aquatics and track and field-type


events. One hundred more children, 6 months to 7 1/2 years, will

compete in the event’s mini-meet.

Maseda’s own daughter, 20-year-old Theresa, will compete in bocce

ball, which Maseda compared to Italian lawn bowling. Maseda first

involved her daughter, who was born with hydrocephalus -- or water on

the brain -- 10 years ago.

“I got her into it for physical exercise, and for finding friends

the same as her,” Maseda said. “We ended up finding a family -- a lot


of family. We all kind of grew together. We raise our special kids


The Tri Valley family includes Kern County, the Antelope Valley,

Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena. Maseda said other areas like San

Diego, South Bay, southeast Los Angeles and Ventura will compete

today as well.

The chapter and the event have received a lot of support from both

private and civic groups, Maseda said. For the first time, the 1st


Marine Division from Camp Pendleton will provide a Color Guard for

the event, and a sergeant will sing the national anthem. The chapter

had previously worked with a group of Encino Marine reservists, who

are serving abroad this year.