WAVERLY – The Board of Education officially added unified track to the Waverly High School schedule.
At their Nov. 4 meeting, the school board approved adding the sport, which is made up of students with intellectual disabilities who are partnered with individuals without disabilities. The pairs compete in track meets where the contests include the 100 meter dash, 400 meter relay and the long jump.
Superintendent Cory Worrell said the school district decided to offer the sport after the Nebraska School Activities Association sanctioned the sport for 2020-21.
“It’s a great opportunity for these kids,” said Worrell last week. “It gives them an opportunity to compete they maybe wouldn’t get any other way.”
Worrell said the school has been competing in unified track meets for the past two years, but as an exhibition sport, not an officially sanctioned sport. Waverly will field its first official unified track team this spring, Worrell said.
With the official status, the school district can hire coaches to lead the team, Worrell said.
“The number of coaches will depend on the number of kids out for unified track,” he said.
In the proposal to the school board, the district administration recommended one coach for a team with four to eight competitors or two coaches if there are more than eight participants. In 2018-19, there were six athletes and 10 partners on the team.
Students must be in high school (ages 17 to 21) and can participate in unified track for no more four seasons.
Unified Sports is an outgrowth of the Special Olympics program. The goal is to provide an inclusive activities program that combines individuals with intellectual disabilities with individuals who do not have intellectual disabilities that fosters an environment of social inclusion, according to information on the NSAA website.
Later in the meeting, the school board discussed updates to the high school track facility. Worrell said they are trying to raise money to put down field turf and in the process would like to improve the track. No action was taken on the matter as it was a discussion item only.
The school board approved extra duty coaching assignments. They are: Taylor Wyatt, assistant baseball coach, replacing Drew Beyer; Tyson Brown, assistant baseball coach, replacing Jackson Hinze; Noah Graziano, boys basketball coach, replacing Anthony Harms; and Addison Schneider, reserve girls basketball coach, replacing Ted Retzlaff.
Worrell presented the board with his “intent to return” letter indicating his desire to continue as the superintendent of the district for the 2020-21 school year. Worrell said next month he will discuss his goals with the school board and an evaluation will be done after the first of the year.