Evanston honors athletes for outstanding achievements

Evanston City Council members recently celebrated the achievements of two talented women athletes.

Evanston’s Caroline Colianne participated in the Special Olympic USA Games last month in Princeton, N.J., where she took home a gold medal in the 100-yard backstroke, a silver in the 100-yard freestyle and a bronze medal in the individual medley.

She also won gold as a member of the 4-by-50 yard medley relay.

In preliminaries, “she just crushed her initial times,” said Lenoard Woodson, a special recreation program manager for the city and head coach for the Evanston Special Recreation program.

“I surprised myself,” said Colianne, after receiving a special commendation from Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl in a ceremony July 21 at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center.

“I wasn’t expecting a gold, maybe a silver … two golds!” she corrected herself, winning applause from the audience.

Woodson, involved with the Special Olympics program since 1989, said Colianne is the first athlete during that period to achieve special honors beyond the state competition.

“With all the things she does, it’s really impressive how hard she works on making herself ready for competition,” he said.

Beyond competing, Caroline recruits friends to become involved in special recreation acivities and also mentors younger athletes, Woodson said.

She’s “just one of the best rounded citizens we have here,” he said.

In another ceremony, the city honored Parker English, 2014 Evanston Township High School graduate who was recently named Gatorade’s Illinois Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year for 2014.

English was honored after winning the Class 3A Illinois High School Association’s 200-meter and 400-meter dashes in Charleston last month.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl noted that the “award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exceptional character demonstrated on and off the track.”

English thanked city officials and her family, who joined her at the ceremony.

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