Unified Track Team More of a Family
by Mollie Green
Walkersville’s unified track team takes on time trials on Monday, March 23rd at Urbana High School.
Although it was only time trials, I interviewed a couple people from the team and got their feedback on how they thought the meet went.
Junior Chadwick Baulig said the meet went very well. It was between Walkersville, Urbana, Catoctin and Oakdale.
I asked Baulig why does he like doing unified track. “It’s a good experience; it’s a really good way to bond with your friends and learn new things about the special ed program that you might not have known, and it’s a new community of people you get to meet”.
Baulig’s favorite event is the javelin throw. “You have to have your arm straight the whole time you throw so you can throw it farther. The key is to not throw it like a football”.
Sophomore Ana Garay gave me her thoughts about the meet as well. “It was fun — there was a lot of sitting around though” Garay said the best part of doing unified track is, “being with friends and being around the people who do it because they’re so positive and happy and fun.” Her favorite event is the long jump because it’s fun to look at.
Sophomore Jessica Kaczor said “it was very enjoyable”.
Kaczor says her favorite part about unified track is, “getting to meet other people from different schools and having a team bond of being really supportive of each other”.
Kaczor’s events are the 100m dash and long jump but she likes doing long jump the most.
I interviewed counselor, Dr. Debra Phebus who has been with the unified track team for 6 or 7 years now. When asked if she enjoys helping with unified track and she said, “love it, my doctorate was on Autism and helping out special needs kids, I love seeing them get excited and part of their excitement is just having buddies to hang out with”.
I then asked Phebus what unified track is like, and she told me “Well, every student has to do a field event and running event at a meet: the choices for field events are: long jump, javelin or shot put. Then they have to choose a running event and those are the 100m, 200m, 400m, or the 800m dash. We also have the 4×100 and 4×400 for relay events”.
She then continued about the typical practices they have; “we warm up, concentrate on field events for half of the practice, and running events for the other half”.
I asked her what makes unified track differ from regular track as a sport. She said, “you run against people that run around your own time. They are judged about their performance not about who they are”.
Phebus’ hope for this season is, “number 1 to have fun, number 2 improvement, and we would like to qualify for states”
I asked Kaczor what it’s like having Dr. Phebus as the coach and she said, “Dr. Phebus really made us more of a team by encouraging all of us to do our best and bring us all together as a family rather than just a team”.
Unified track is a family oriented sport for everyone to join and feel comfortable with being who they are and staying active.