Unified sports bring joy, confidence to Lord Botetourt’s track on Monday

DALEVILLE, Va. – There was no shortage of cheering in Daleville Monday, as Lord Botetourt’s Unified Track & Field team took their final lap of the season.

Dozens of athletes with special abilities showed off their talent in front of their classmates. Northside, William Fleming, and Salem converged on the track of Lord Botetourt for softball toss, 100-meter dash, and the relay.

Cavalier’s head coach Cheryl Shockley said confidence, inclusivity, and pride are pillars of the Unified sports experience.

“When we got our track jerseys, when we got our team bookbags, they sported those around with so much energy, so much excitement. It was really neat to see students coming and asking, “Hey, what is this?” and them just being able to brag on themselves.”

As a sanctioned sport with the VHSL, all the athletes are working towards their varsity letter. They practice with the varsity team, and compete with the team as well.

“When the track action happens, they run hurdles first, so once the hurdles are cleaned, we run our 100-meter events, and the varsity runs theirs. So it just seamlessly intertwines,” Shockley added.

The track team is a first-of-its-kind at Lord Botetourt, but for programs like William Fleming, it has been around for several years. Shockley wants to see more schools bring Unified sports programs to their campus.

“If you are out there and you want to work with students, it is so much fun to do and you get so much help from the Special Olympics of Southwest Virginia. It is so rewarding and so good for the teams.”

Shockley added that having an inclusive program to begin with at the school makes for a seamless transition to create the program. For more information, head over to the VHSL page.

About the Author

Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.

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