Unified track brings students together

Unified+track+brings+students+together

Tommy Callaghan, Managing Editor

As spring comes, it also bring a new season of spring sports. Now, sports have reached their full swing. Like always, MCHS is home to girls’ tennis, baseball, softball, track, and boys’ golf. But, what many do not know is Michigan City’s most recently added varsity sport. As of St. Patrick’s Day, 2015 MCHS now has a Unified Track team. Everyone knows what the word unified means and knows what track is, but, the two words put together do not ring a bell.
Unified Track allows athletes with special needs to compete at a varsity level and letter. The athletes with special needs are unified with athletes who do not have special needs. Absolutely anyone is welcome to join Michigan City’s newest team but the runners without special needs are primarily involved in the ‘Champions Together’ club.
This new program is coached by Coach Craig Shaman and Coach Lucas Snyder. Coach Shaman has put a lot of effort into making Unified Track an official sport at Michigan City High School and after months of hard work, the high school now has its newest sport. While Coach Shaman dedicated a lot of time to making this happen, he said, the most prevalent push was from the students in the Champions Together club.
In the late fall, a bus full of fall sports captains visited a seminar hosted by the Special Olympics Organization. There, students learned about Unified Track and all of its benefits. On the bus ride back, the idea of bringing Unified Track to City hatched almost immediately. When Coach Shaman arrived back to school in his car twenty minutes after the students, he found them waiting for him. Ever since the idea was proposed, plans have done nothing but move forward. On March 17, 2015, it all came together into the team’s first practice.
Sports can be a lot of fun. Winning, working hard, and accomplishing a goal can all make sports as amazing as they are. But, it is not the competitive side of sports that truly make a sport enjoyable. Ask any athlete why they play sports and it may be because their team always wins, but, majority of the time, an athlete will say their sport is so fun because of the team. Often, bonds and relationship formed on a sports team are the ones which seem most unbreakable. And that is what Michigan City’s Unified Track team is all about, the relationships formed.
Caleb Raymer, a junior at MCHS spoke volumes regarding the relationships formed with the special needs athletes. He said, “It may sound cheesy, but getting to know the other kids and seeing the constant smiling faces is my absolute favorite part.”
Senior Sam Mallon not only agreed with Raymer but also had his own opinion. After having such good experiences, Sam said, “Every school should have this program. Unified Track really helps to build a spirit of inclusion, something that is often missing.”
Raymer and Mallon both stated how happy they were to be parts of bringing Unified Track to City.
The team does not have many meets with other schools but will compete at Sectionals on May 30 at Bremen High School and then the state finals on June 6.

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