By Bailey VenJohn
Online editor

All day Saturday the Winfield gym will play host to multiple basketball games. The Southwestern Enactus team is hosting their first annual Special Olympics basketball tournament.

The tournament is bringing five teams for the events. Ali Ornbaun, biology senior and project lead, had hoped for a few more teams.

“Since we’ve never done it before it was kind of hard to get teams who wanted to come, we wanted more than 5.”

Though Ornbaun may not be satisfied with the number of teams they are drawing in, it is not caused by lack of effort.

Ornbaun said, “On the Special Olympics website there’s a list of all the coaches’ emails so we sent the information and registration to every coach in Kansas.”

Besides inviting teams to come, Enactus also had to work to get donations for the event.

Ornbaun explained the process, “We got a list of businesses from around the community and made a form with four levels of donations: gold, silver, bronze, and general. We then went out to each business and asked for them to donate.”

Lizzie Walz, accounting sophomore and Enactus member, feels that the ability to talk to businesses like this is just one of the many things she is gaining from being in Enactus.

“I think it is really good experience to go out and talk to businesses and ask for sponsorship for it to come together, said Walz.”

Along with Enactus members being asked to help on Saturday, Ornbaun also reached out to women’s basketball and athletic trainers. The women’s team plans to help with reffing and running the clock while the athletic trainers are there to help anyone with injury.

Working more behind the scenes with this project but still a big part is Michelle Van Gieson, accounting senior and Enactus president.

“As president of Enactus, I oversee all of the groups and projects so I am not involved in the everyday managing of projects but help when the projects are put into stages such as the Special Olympic games on Saturday. I contribute to each project by helping the project leads answer any questions or give guidance on questions that they may have. However with Special Olympics, it has a very special place in my heart because my best friend’s brother plays on a Special Olympics basketball team. He has always been a big part of my family which made this an important project for me. Therefore, I spent more time with this project than any of the others but I still only managed from afar,” explained Van Gieson.

This basketball tournament will be presented at the competitions Enactus faces later in the year such as Regionals and hopefully Nationals. It is one of three projects they have worked on.

“Special Olympics is going to be a big contributor to our presentation which in return will affect our chances of winning Regionals,” said Van Gieson.

The Moundbuilder Market is another big project Enactus has had on their plate. Ornbaun explained the Moundbuilder Market as their big money project but the basketball tournament serves its own purpose.

“The market is making more money now than it ever has in the past so right now we’re more of a feel good project,” said Ornbaun.

Community involvement is also a big part of this project. Community members are encouraged to attend.

All together Enactus has high hopes for this project this weekend and in years to come.

“I expect this project to be a great success and be a continuing project each year for the foreseeable future. Our plan is to make this a tournament that averages 15 or 20 teams each year and has both gyms with teams playing at the same time. I hold this project to a high standard and I know that our Enactus team will do a great job on Saturday and in the future.”

In future years Enactus plans to amp up the advertisement and draw in a larger crowd to the tournament.

“After this we’re going to make a promotion video for them to send out next year so hopefully we can get coaches saying they want to come back next year in hopes that it’ll be twice as big,” said Ornbaun.

This project is Ornbaun’s last project within Enactus. She plans to graduate in May but credits Enactus with giving her experience to use after college.

Ornbaun said, “For me being a science major I have no business background. It helps a lot with that. I feel like I learn so much more through Enactus than I would with normal class. It’s more hands on and I can figure it out myself.”

Registration begins Saturday at 10 a.m. with the first game scheduled for 11 a.m. The schedule is attached below.

Bailey VenJohn is a senior majoring in communication. You may email her at

Tournament Schedule

Registration Begins: 10:00 am

Opening Ceremonies: 10:30

Game 1, teams 1 vs 2: 11:00 am

Break for Lunch: 12:00 pm

Game 2, team 4 vs 5: 1:30 pm

Game 3, team 2 vs 3: 2:30 pm

Game 4, team 5 vs 4: 3:30 pm

Game 5, team 3 vs 1: 4:30 pm

Game 6, team 4 vs 5: 5:30 pm

Closing Ceremonies: 6:30 pm


Team Numbers

Lower Level

Team 1: New Hope Bulldogs

Team 2: Cowley Black

Team 3: Cowley White

Upper Level

Team 4: New Hope Bull dogs

Team 5: Cowley Orange