Special Olympics gold medalists

Forest City Middle School students Michelle Jermeland and Jacob Leitz won gold medals during the Special Olympics state bowling competition on Nov. 11. 

FOREST CITY |Two Forest City Middle School students won gold medals at a Special Olympics state bowling competition in Des Moines on Nov. 11. 

Michelle Jermeland and Jacob Leitz were the only students from Forest City to qualify for the event.

Both have competed at state before but this is the first time they have won gold, according to Bob Ritter, Special Olympics head coach for the Forest City School District. 

More than 850 individuals with special needs participated in the state bowling tournament, which was held in four different locations. 

Jermeland and Leitz both received first-place ribbons at a regional competition in October in Fort Dodge to advance to state.

To qualify for regionals, Special Olympians must bowl 10 games locally and send in their average score for those games. 

The next event for Special Olympics is basketball, followed by track and field.

When Forest City hosted a Special Olympics competition in the 1980s, Ritter presented medals. 

"To see their facial reactions and their emotions come through is very cool," he said. 

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