Ledyard High School’s wrestling team easily captured the Class S 2017 championship title, while the music department was preparing to travel to Disney World to compete in the annual Festival Disney music competition. But, Ledyard’s Unified Sports team has their eyes on a different kind of prize. Unified Sports is a team centered around creating a supportive and positive atmosphere. Its program combines students with intellectual disabilities, and athletes, and pairs them with other students to enter various sporting competitions.
Ledyard’s Unified Team is coached by LHS’s physical education and health teacher, Mrs. Kathleen Lyon, who stresses the team-oriented environment.
Every team and every coach has their own goal for their players and this team is no exception. According to Lyon, one of their most sought-after objectives is, “To have the experience of being on a team and playing and being a team member. I also aim to get involvement from kids with a variety of athletic abilities. Especially those who aren’t on a sports team, but are still willing to be a leader and be part of a team.”
Coach and players alike, they all look forward to hearing the crowd roar after a shot and seeing the big smiles on each face. Lyon says, “The athletes’ faces really just light up after every point.”
During the Ledyard vs. Fitch basketball game, partner Olivia Lozier recalls when she and Kyle Acosta were paired up and put in the game during the last five minutes and managed to score three baskets.
After the first basket Acosta turned to Lozier and said “We did it,” and even though the team lost that game Olivia said, “It didn’t matter because I know that we all did everything we could and we all had fun while doing it.”
This team has different importance for each player. The ability to represent Ledyard and being able to be a Colonel is what athlete Sky Drake loves about participating in Ledyard’s Unified Sports team. For Accosta it’s being able to simply play a basketball game with his friends, while for Lozier it’s learning the importance of having a positive attitude. Everybody has different reasoning behind being a part of the team, but everybody is looking to have a good time with good people.
Unified isn’t as simple as just their basketball season. They started the year off with an eight week soccer season and will be ending it with a volleyball season this spring. The team practices once a week for an hour and has three games: home, away, and an ECC tournament. Anybody interested in playing on this uplifting team this spring should get cleared by the nurse and then see Mrs. Lyon to sign up.
Olivia Strelevitz, Staff Writer
Sophomore Olivia Strelevitz is a staff writer for the 2016-17 Colonel. Not only is she an honors student, she is also a competitive swimmer competing for LHS and TAC. Outside of the pool, Strelevitz works as the Secretary of Key Club and participates in Student Congress.