BHS Unified Track Teamby Amy Wenger on May 14, 2014
Bremen High School's storied and esteemed sports programs have long been a source of community pride. This year, one of the school's newest athletic endeavors is garnering a great deal of attention and admiration from participants and supporters alike.
For an opportunity to witness Bremen's newest sports troupe in action, visit Bunge Field on Thursday afternoon, May 15 at 5 p.m. and arrive ready to cheer on the Unified Track Team.
The Unified Track Team made its debut in the spring of 2014, and is designed to give students with special needs an outlet to become involved in team sports. Each of the athletes is paired up with a mentor, who assists the competitors with mastering the specifics of a particular element of a traditional track meet, such as the various forms of running, long jump, and shot put.
Lori Hundt, Bremen High School special education teacher, has worked closely with BHS senior Sara Slabaugh to coordinate the program this year. Slabaugh noted that discussions for the Unified Track Team actually began several months ago, through the workings of a committee. At the time, the question arose as to whether there should be an alliance with Riley Children's Hospital or the Special Olympics as a means to achieve a volunteer mission. The committee members chose the Special Olympics, and the idea for the Unified Track Team creation was sparked.
Various fund raisers were held to help defray the costs involved with organization, and the team was able to launch this spring as planned. The athletes will be traveling to East Noble on Thursday, May 22 for another meet, then heading to Warsaw for sectional action on May 30, where they'll be among approximately eight featured squads.
Slabaugh added that by participating in sectional meets, this allows the team to also become involved with Special Olympics at the state level, a venture the athletes will be preparing for in the coming weeks.
Members of the Bremen High School Unified Track Team include Garrett Maxson, Alaina Huffman, Katie Walter, Kasey Jones, Matthew Snyder, Zack Durlin, Dylan Shupert, Jeremiah Kaufman, and Josh Walter.
Student volunteers who also work with the Unified Track Team include Pedro Lopez, Eric Knepper, Amanda Napier, Melissa Krathwohl, Shannon Siefer, Erica Gallegos, Alexis Jennings, Mallori Colvin, Kamie Miller, Dylan Shumaker, Caleb Walter, and Tyler Moser.