Stoddard honored as Special Olympics Athlete of the Month

Kira Stoddard worked diligently to make actions speak louder than words.

Her actions as the goalie for the Special Olympics of Santa Barbara floor hockey team helped the team win a gold medal at the recent Fall Games in Irvine.

Kira Stoddard

Kira Stoddard

Stoddard was honored as the Special Olympics Athlete of the Month at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Café.

Floor hockey coach Jaime Rutiaga said Stoddard watched the team practice for two months before approaching him and saying she could play goalie.

“Well, let’s put it to action,” said Rutiaga of his response. “From that point forward, she was there every Sunday practicing for 3 ½ hours. Goalie is not an easy position.”

Stoddard proved to be a difference maker for the team.

“From the first tournament to the last tournament, it was a 110 percent improvement,” Rutiaga said. “They were giving up 15 goals a game and went down to four goals per game. Kira gave her team a chance to win.”

And the team won gold.

Gina Carbajal, executive director of Special Olympics of Santa Barbara, announced some future events.

On Jan. 20, the Young Athletes Showcase for elementary school-aged children will take plae at Cate School.

A coaching orientation meeting is slated on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. at Franklin Center. Anyone interested in coaching with Special Olympics is urged to call the office at 884-1516 for more information.

On Jan. 28, a Polar Plunge is slated for Leadbetter Beach. Call Special Olympics for more information.