It was a big day for Special Olympics Northern California Unified Sports Athletes and Unified Partners who made their first appearance at the North Coast Section’s Track and Field Meet of Champions on May 28th at U.C. Berkeley’s Edwards Stadium, representing 11 NCS member schools. Each Special Education Unified Athlete was matched with a General Education Unified Partner to create a “Unified Unit” to compete in the Unified 100m dash and Unified Long Jump. Unified Athletes and Unified Partners combined individual times and distances to create a total Unified Unit time for the 100m and total distance for the long jump. This was the first time that Unified Units were invited to compete at the highest level in the North Coast Section or any Section Track and Field Championship in the state of California.
Including Unified Sports in the North Coast Section’s Track and Field Championship was an idea that NCS Commissioner Gil Lemmon presented to SONC in late 2015 after the California Department of Education, Special Olympics Northern California and Southern California, and California Interscholastic Federation announced a partnership to provide opportunities for student athletes with disabilities. Once that was established, then the work began of finding the athletes, schools, coaches, and parents willing to trail blaze this new frontier.
We are so grateful to Redwood High School, Castro Valley High School, James Logan High School, Dublin High School, Acalanes High School, Foothill High School, Pittsburg High School, Miramonte High School, Sir Francis Drake High School, Tamalpais High School and Terra Linda High School for their participation. Thank you to our athletes, coaches and parents who took a chance on a new event over Memorial Day Weekend.
All the Unified Athletes and Partners are terrific examples of the CIF’s mission of, “perusing victory with honor.” Congratulations to Dublin High School for placing first in the Girls 100 meter and Girls long jump. Congratulations to Foothill High School for placing first in the Boys 100 meter and to Tamalpais High School for placing first in the Boys long jump. It was exciting for us here at SONC to witness the journey and the competition.
As we close the school year, we are pleased that the North Coast Section Meet of Champions was such a huge success. We are very grateful that the NCS also felt it was a success and wrote this great article that was included in the NCS’s publication The Scoop.