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Unified Track: “Like a Family”

By: Marisa Papagelis

A less known spring sport at WHS is the boys and girls unified track team. The unified track team is different than other sports because it’s made up of student athletes with disabilities who are partnered with fellow WHS and Algonquin H.S. students.  The program has been going strong for over 10 years.

The WHS/Algonquin unified track team competes against other unified track teams in the area. The meet is scored like a regular track meet, and it is just as competitive as one. The team practices three times a week at ARHS. The program is combined in order to provide the opportunity for students at both schools to participate in the event. Before it became combined, the program was run solely at Algonquin.

“I love being on the Unified Track team. Everyone is so nice and always cheers me on to do my best. I made so many friends, and I have a lot of fun,” says senior student athlete Gia Bellofatto.

The events are the same as a regular track meet except for the javelin.  The javelin is different because all members of the unified track team use a “unified” javelin stick, which is the same mass as a competitive javelin stick but a different shape.

At the end of the season, there are league and state meets for which runners can qualify. Anyone on the unified track team is allowed to qualify for and participate in leagues and states. Last year, the team made it to the state meet and placed first.

The captains of the unified track team from Westborough are seniors Mary Kate Lehman, Audrey Lord, and junior Chris LaPlante.

Senior Sarah Kline says, “The team is like a family and it is great to be able to connect with athletes both from Westborough and Algonquin.”

Kline enjoys the unified track team because it gives her the opportunity to interact with her peers in a sports setting.

Many of the participants in unified track are also members of Best Buddies whether its as a partner or as a buddy.

The last unified track meet was on Thursday, May 10 at Auburn.

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