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The Carthage Press
  • CHS senior to represent Missouri at Special Olympics USA Games

  • A Carthage High School student athlete said he's nervous yet excited for his upcoming journey to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.
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  • A Carthage High School student athlete said he's nervous yet excited for his upcoming journey to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.
    Danny Topete, 18, just graduated this May from Carthage High School. He said he has enjoyed high school, and will represent his community with his speed and strength in the 400 meter; 100 meter; running long jump; relay and the javelin. This year's games will attract more than 80,000 athletes, coaches, families and spectators from the United States.
    “It feels amazing,” Danny said, a bit overwhelmed with attention. “I like them (events) all.”
    CHS special education teacher and coach, Mary Frazier, was more than willing to praise this individual.
    “Not only is Danny a great athlete, he has great sportsmanship,” she said. “He's never angry; he cares about everybody. He shows drive and determination to be the best he can be.”
    After attending a summer camp last year, Danny was nominated and accepted by a committee with the Special Olympics. He is one of 14 from the southwest Missouri area.
    “It's quite the honor,” said Robin Anderson, program director with Special Olympics “MoMagic” team. “He's an outstanding athlete – He's what I call a natural.”
    Danny excels in not only track and field events, but basketball and bowling as well. Anderson said she has watched him grow as a person from his past competition trips.
    “The first three days, he wanted to come home,” Anderson said. “He missed his Carthage crew, but by the end of the week he was smiling like crazy. I've seen him come home a totally different person – he definably came out of his shell … We're very proud of him.”
    A week-long series of non-stop activity begins June 13. There will be a big send-off celebration at Washington University in St. Louis. Danny and his fellow athletes will go see American landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, and go watch a AAA baseball game.
    “Majority of the athletes have never been on an airplane,” Anderson said. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime – they're not just going to compete, the athletes will be treated. There will be surprises.”
    Certain celebrities have been known to make appearances at the games, such as Bono and Nelson Mandela. Danny said he hopes to see Katy Perry.
    Upon returning home, Danny is looking forward to continuing his training in carpentry. He is the son of Clemente and Rocio Topete. His siblings are: Robert, Marlene and Bernice.
    “I want to say thank you,” he said, “for everything.”
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