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Fighting Squirrels Plunge for Special Olympics

Mary Baldwin student-athletes at the 2018 Polar Plunge.
Mary Baldwin student-athletes at the 2018 Polar Plunge.

Virginia Beach, VA—On the first Saturday of February, six Mary Baldwin University athletes traveled to Virginia Beach to jump into the Atlantic Ocean in 38-degree weather. The annual Virginia Special Olympics Polar Plunge is a fundraiser for competition and training events for over 21,000 athletes. This year, 3734 participants raised $1.2 million to help send Team Virginia to compete in the USA Games being held this summer. The MBU team raised $1248 towards that effort.

NCAA Division III Athletics and the Special Olympics have a partnership, encouraging DIII institutions to participate in or create events for Special Olympic athletes. The MBU Athletic Department has chosen this event as a great, fun way to support and contribute to a worthy cause. This is the second year that the Fighting Squirrels have participated in the event.

Senior Jannelly Ramos has participated both years. “As an athlete, it is fun to do something that can help other athletes out! It was nice to find out after the Plunge that our efforts will help send Team Virginia to the USA Games. Plus, it was a fun experience to go plunging in the ocean with my teammates! I hope I can continue to do the Polar Plunge every year.”

First-timer Nykia Free is now a Polar Plunge convert. “When I first heard about the Polar Plunge, I was a bit skeptical because the date of the plunge was scheduled in the winter, and we would be jumping into the ice cold ocean! But when I learned about the cause behind it, my jitters slowly subsided. I loved raising money for the Special Olympics, plunging, and seeing the amount of people who participated (and their costumes!). The response I got from friends and family was amazing, and I can’t wait for next year!”

The MBU Fighting Squirrels Polar Plunge team would like to sincerely thank their friends, families, and the MBU faculty and staff for their support of this community service project. We look forward to next year’s Polar Plunge event!