The Student News Site of Stephen Decatur High School

The Hawk

The Student News Site of Stephen Decatur High School

The Hawk

The Student News Site of Stephen Decatur High School

The Hawk


On First Try, Unified Strength Team Wins It All

Decatur athletes secure first-ever state championship in a Unified sport

For the first time ever, Stephen Decatur High School had a Unified Strength and Conditioning team.

And for the first time ever, our Unified Strength and Conditioning team went all the way and won the State Championship. The team won its statewide competition on Feb. 21 at the state invitational held in Snow Hill.

“I really like being a part of this program,” said teammate Phil Mason, a senior. “I’ve met a lot of great people through this, its very competitive and I like to win so I think this is a great program set up.”

High school students with disabilities do not often get a chance to play on their school sports teams.

More and more U.S. states are adopting the Unified Sports approach that Special Olympics pioneered. According to the Special Olympics, Unified sports programming is  in more than 8,300 school across the United States, and it is a goal to have Unified sports in 10,000 schools by this year.

Everyone seems to love it and want to see more of it. Many kids are starting to feel more active and included.

According to team member Mason Edelman, a sophomore, “it’s really great that were all doing this,” he said. “It’s super fun. We have a lot of great relationships and a really good bond.”

Coach Lindsay Owens said this year is the first time our school has hosted a Unified Strength and conditioning program. She said in Unified sports, students with disabilities work with general education students as a unified pair. Owens is also a educational assistant in the special department here at Decatur.

“This is a great opportunity for students and coaches to learn about each other, learn from each other, and really come together,” she said.

Here at Stephen Decatur High school, we also have Unified Bocce in the spring and Unified Tennis in the fall, according to Coach Shannon Bone.

“The kids have been working really hard this year,” said Bone, also a Decatur science teacher. “We have been practicing since November, lifting and practicing twice a week. We’re battling against all the teams in the bayside, plus a couple teams on the western shore, so were pretty excited for these kids.”

Bone said it gives an opportunity for kids with disabilities to do things they haven’t before, also gives and opportunity for kids without disabilities to work with and help kids with disabilities.

“I think it’s really cool to be a part of this program and to be able to help all these kids be more active and do things they might not of been able to do before,” said teammate Bailey Griffin, a sophomore.


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