WASHINGTON, D.C. - For the seventh consecutive year, the Catholic University athletics department hosted a Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics D.C.
Last Friday, student-athletes braved a real-feel temperature of 28 degrees and a 15 mph wind to jump into a portable pool inside Cardinal Stadium. This year's plunge drew 227 pledges and raised $30,713.
The University is in its 19th year supporting Special Olympics which is also the official charitable partner of Division III.
Officially launched on Aug. 1, 2011, the purpose of the partnership is to enhance the lives of Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes through a mutual learning experience; provide a platform for recognition of Special Olympics athletes and Division III student-athletes within their communities; and raise awareness of Special Olympics, its programs and services.
Since 2017, Catholic Athletics has raised $119,193 for Special Olympics D.C., including a record $33,464 a year ago when a total of 280 pledges were received. The Cardinals raised $31,199 in 2018 and $23,817 in 2017.
For the second-straight year, head football coach Mike Gutelius issued a challenge to his team that if they raised a certain amount, he would participate in the Polar Plunge. After his team surpassed last year's challenge of $3,000, Gutelus increased the amount to $5,000.
The Cardinals responded, raising $7,442 in just a few short weeks to surpass the baseball team's previous record of $7,017 in 2019. Baseball raised $4,030 this year.
Women's lacrosse tied baseball for the most pledges with 35 and finished second with $4,868.
Catholic University has been hosting Special Olympics events since 2002. Earlier on Friday, it held a Polar Plunge for middle school and high school students.
Special Olympics D.C. is the sole provider of sports, health and inclusion programs that benefit over 1,600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in The District. These services are provided at no cost to participants.