Blustery winds knocked over signage, flipped tents and forced teams to huddle together for warmth on Saturday April 9th during the Wake County Track & Field Championships at Garner Magnet High School. Making even more of an impact on the climate at the event were the Special Olympics Unified Track teams. Special Olympics Unified Sports® joins people with and without intellectual disabilities of similar age and ability on the same team to promote social inclusion through shared sports experiences.
This was the second year Unified track was featured at the Wake County Track & Field Championships and the number of schools and students participating doubled. (View photos) The more than 50 Special Olympics NC athletes and Unified Sports partners who competed in the county meet represented Cary High School, Garner Magnet School, Sanderson High School and Wake Forest High School. The Unified events at the meet included the shot put, long jump, 100 meter dash, 400 meter dash, 4×100 and 4×400 relays and the 800 meter run.
“The athletes and partners really gave it their all this season,” said Ryan Tingle, Garner’s Unified Track Coach. “They’ve performed well and really built tight friendships too.”
“It’s so great to be out here together -unified,” said Unified Partner Rachel Lamm of Cary High School. “It’s opened other students eyes as to how accomplished people with intellectual disabilities really are. We have other kids asking to join the team now. I think Unified is the future in high school sports!”
Sanderson High School won the Unified team competition followed by Garner, Wake Forest and Cary. The exciting news for the teams this year is that they’ve been invited to compete at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Track & Field State Championships in Greensboro on May 21st.