New Team at South: Unified Track

This season a new team will be part of our athletics offerings. The Unified Track team is a new team supported by the MIAA in association with Special Olympics Mass. The Unified track league strives to promote climates of dignity, respect, and inclusion for students beyond the classroom. This team is a competitive program that will involve winning and losing, but the primary focus is on gaining new skills, meeting personal goals, and participating with a team to represent South.

Unified Track is a team comprised of high school students and has a 50-50 ratio of students with and without IDD (intellectual developmental disabilities). Practices are held after school three times a week during the Spring season. The team will compete in four meets, followed by a district qualifier, and then a State championship for those individuals who qualify. Teammates mentor and coach each other as they train and compete together. Competition is based on students of similar athletic ability in heats/flights. All students’ performances count and potentially contribute to the team success—not just the fastest runners and longest throwers.

To participate students are asked to make the following commitment: (1) Participate in all practices held after school for 1 hour and 15 minutes, three times a week; (2) attend all four meets; (3) pay the athletics fee or apply for a waiver if needed; (4) complete the Athletics department paperwork on FamilyID; and (5) have a current physical.

To be eligible to participate, students need to display appropriate behaviors, be tolerant of all participants, and maintain their grades.

Unified Sports® was first developed by Special Olympics as a means of providing a quality experience of sports training and competition in an inclusive environment that allows friendships to form. It is the vision of this sports project to allow high school students with and without intellectual disabilities to collectively represent their high school in an MIAA-sanctioned activity by participating together on a Unified Sports® team.

A Unified Track and Field team consists of a minimum of six eligible Unified Student-Athletes (with intellectual disabilities or autism) and a minimum of six eligible Unified Student Partners. Unified Track and Field is not a substitute for Varsity Track and Field but is instead a different team. Track events included will be the 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 800-meter, and 4X100- and 4X200-meter relay (team running). Field events included will be shotput, javelin (throwing), and long jump.

We firmly believe that the opportunity to participate in education-based athletics is a unique and important part of our culture. All our students deserve this amazing experience. Students and families interested in this program should contact the Athletics department or the Special Education office.