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Who We Play For needs votes to win humanitarian award

FLC basketball begins new tradition
Members of the nonprofit organization Who We Play For and community members offered free ECG heart screenings in Durango last year. The organization is a finalist for the NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald file)

The nonprofit organization Who We Play For and founder Ralph Maccarone have been selected as one four national finalists for the NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.

The winning nonprofit organization will receive a $100,000 donation. People can vote once per day until Nov. 9 at https://www.nascarfoundation.org/award.

Who We Play For was founded after the death of Rafe Maccarone in 2007. Rafe went into sudden cardiac arrest after warming up for a high school soccer practice and died from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a detectable condition. Since then, Who We Play For has provided more than 200,000 ECG Heart Screenings for student athletes in seven states. From those screenings they have identified over 200 students that required surgical intervention for undetected life-threatening cardiac issues

Maccarone said the funding would be used to continue to provide ECG heart screenings to students who cannot afford them, noting that the organization doesn’t turn away students who can't pay. The funds would provide ECG heart screens for 5,000 students.

Win or lose, the organization plans to return to La Plata County in February for a second annual screening. Maccarone said they’ll be screening in Pagosa Springs on Feb. 17 and is planning on scheduling a screening at Fort Lewis College the same week.

“It is a great honor that Who We Play For and I have been considered for this award,” Maccarone said. “We partnered with NASCAR last year and held a big screening event at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida.”

Daytona Beach is in Volusia County, which requires student athletes to have the ECG heart screens.

“We currently have about 30% of the state of Florida requiring the ECG's,” Maccarone said. “We are making a big legislative push next year to pass a statewide mandate.”

Homegrown film fest

The final event of Spoketober will be the Homegrown Adventures Film Fest, 6:30-8 p.m. Monday at the Durango Welcome Center. At the event, the best video submissions from the Spoketober video contest will be premiered on the big screen. The best videos in each category will also receive prizes and be featured on @VisitDurango and @SpoketoberDurango.

Attendees will receive free cycling-themed posters, stickers and other items.

People can submit videos and find more information at https://www.durango.org/spoketober/

‘Skyhawks Madness’ to mark beginning of basketball seasons

The Fort Lewis College men’s and women’s basketball teams will host “Skyhawks Madness” inside of Whalen Gymnasium at 6 p.m. Tuesday – marking the official start of basketball season.

The event will kick off with an introduction from Travis Whipple, director of athletics. The evening will then feature team introductions and words from head coaches Bob Pietrack and Taylor Harris.

“We are excited to begin a new tradition that marks the official start of basketball season inside of Whalen Gymnasium,” Whipple said. “Skyhawks Madness will provide an opportunity for our campus and community to meet our teams while enjoying a fun evening inside Whalen. This is the perfect time to get involved with our program as we look forward to the 2022-23 season.”

Following the introductions, there will be a three-point competition with the men’s and women’s teams competing for bragging rights. The event will also have a slam dunk contest, featuring representatives from the men's and women's programs.

The event is open to students, faculty, staff and the public. Fans will be treated to free food and also have the opportunity to partake in competitions on the court.

Cyclocross series kicks off Saturday

The 2022 Zia Taqueria 4 Corners Cyclocross series will return this weekend. The first of four races in the series will take place on Saturday in Dolores.

The series will also hold races in Cortez on Nov. 5, Durango Mesa on Nov. 12 and Fort Lewis College on Nov. 19. Racers must register by 11:59 p.m. Friday. There will be no race day registration.

Registration available at https://bit.ly/3fbl0Ey. One race is $30 or the competitors can do two races for $35.

Check in will begin at 9:30 a.m. At 11 a.m., the Open Women, B Men, 50+ Men, Junior-M/W will race. The Open Men and 35+ Men will follow at noon.