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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – University of Virginia student-athletes from the men’s and women’s lacrosse, wrestling and men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are each playing their part Saturday for the Gene Arnold Memorial Virginia Area 3 Special Olympics Pepsi 10K Run. The run begins at 8 a.m. at the Meriweather Lewis Elementary School in Ivy, Va.

Cavaliers from the women’s lacrosse, wrestling and men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will be participants in the race, while for the 13th-straight year the men’s lacrosse team will handle all race logistics the morning of the run, including parking and traffic control, water stations from the start to the finish line and setup/teardown, among other duties. This event annually serves as one of the men’s lacrosse team’s primary community service projects.

“Our men’s lacrosse team has worked closely with the Charlottesville Special Olympics in the organization of the Pepsi 10K and we guard that relationship with great care,” head coach Dom Starsia said. “We are proud of our role and any influence we have had in the growth of the race. We are also very appreciative of the participation of our women’s lacrosse, wrestling and the swimming and diving teams and the coaches who support them. This is clearly a group effort and there are many working quietly behind the scenes to make this event a success.

“My two daughters, Maggie and Emma, are Special Olympic athletes and I can speak directly to the benefit of this race to the valuable contribution the Special Olympics organization makes in our community,” Starsia continued. “In turn, the modest efforts required of Virginia lacrosse are rewarded many times over. Come join us on Saturday morning to support a great cause.”

The annual event is in its 28th year and the course is a beautiful, gently rolling 6.2 mile course that starts and ends at Meriweather Lewis Elementary School. Awards will go to the top three finishers for male and female overall and age group place prizes will also be awarded for the top three finishers in each age group.

“This event has the largest number of UVa student-athletes involved for any single community service event during the year,” said UVa Life Skills Director Phil Gates. “For the student-athletes involved, this becomes a great springboard to individually serve the Special Olympics in other service opportunities.”

Each area raises its own funds in order to compete in the Virginia Special Olympics. The proceeds from the race help fund Area 3 Special Olympics, which covers the Charlottesville and Albemarle region – for uniforms, equipment and other expenses accrued in order to compete.

Those who wish to run can sign up until the morning of the race on Saturday. The entry fee, which includes a free shirt, is $30 (students $20). Sign-ups can occur at the packet pick-up opportunity that is being held on Friday (4-7 p.m.) at First Baptist Church, 735 Park Street, Charlottesville, in the Fellowship Hall in the back of the building. Sign-ups on the day of the race will start at 6:45 a.m. at Meriweather Lewis Elementary School.

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