Show­cas­ing high school Uni­fied Ten­nis

Dorchester Star - - FRONT PAGE - By JACK RODGERS [email protected]­pub.com

SHILOH — Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester and North Dorch­ester high schools show­cased their new ath­letes this fall through the fall Uni­fied Ten­nis pro­gram.

Part­ner­ing with the Special Olympics, Uni­fied Sports pairs with high schools across the coun­try to pro­vide group sports for special ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents. In the win­ter stu­dents can par­tic­i­pate in Uni­fied Fit­ness, an ex­er­cise pro­gram and in the spring, Uni­fied Bocce Ball.

Special ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents are paired with a reg­u­lar ed­u­ca­tion stu­dent to com­pete against one an­other.

Any stu­dent is el­i­gi­ble to com­pete in Uni­fied Sports pro­grams and are rated on their abil­ity to com­pete on a scale of five to 25. Special ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents are paired with reg­u­lar ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents based on these rat­ings, given to com­peti­tors through­out the sea­son.

Sea­sons start in Septem­ber and end in mid-Oc­to­ber with a re­gional com­pe­ti­tion.

North Dorch­ester High School Uni­fied Sports Coach Adam Wil­son said his re­spon­si­bil­ity as coach can range from run­ning prac­tices, chas­ing down balls for ten­nis and bocce or scor­ing games. Wil­son said the turnout for the pro­gram this year has been ex­cep­tional.

“We had a cou­ple of our special ed kids have never played be­fore, they’re fresh­man and they’ve done great,” Wil­son said. “We had a cou­ple of our reg­u­lar ed kids that are fresh­man too, have never played ten­nis be­fore. They’re us­ing this as a spring­board for spring ten­nis and they’re do­ing great, too.”

Wil­son said it’s im­por­tant to have the pro­gram at North Dorch­ester High School.

“I think it’s im­por­tant for our kids to see that every­body’s im­por­tant and ev­ery­one should be in­cluded and that we can have fun with every­body,” Wil­son said.

Steven Ro­mano, a Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High School coach, said stu­dents on his team have learned a lot from the start of the sea­son. Ro­mano said stu­dents have come to him and talked about how much they’ve learned.

“It’s been pretty watch these kids cool to not just grow as play­ers but as friends as well,” Ro­mano said. “They didn’t know each other be­fore they came out, I have con­ver­sa­tions and they all seem to be hav­ing an awe­some time, so that’s prob­a­bly been the most re­ward­ing part.”

North Dorch­ester Team Man­ager Emily Mar­shall, a se­nior on the var­sity ten­nis team in the spring, said she has seen tremen­dous im­prove­ment since the first ten­nis match for special ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents. Mar­shall said the 2018 Uni­fied Sports teams are the largest North Dorch­ester High School has had to date.

When Mar­shall was a sopho­more, she helped raise $2,000 for new uni­forms for the Uni­fied Sports teams.

“I asked small busi­nesses, big busi­nesses just for do­na­tions,” Mar­shall said. “I stood out in front of Wal­mart for hours and hours, ... it’s a great way to get in­volved, meet new peo­ple and make new friends.”

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Dorch­ester ten­nis player Parker Hin­son takes a shot with in­struc­tion from as­sis­tant coach Jen Walker.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester ten­nis player Dy­lan Wrigley a serve with coach Bren­dan Bromwell look­ing on.re­turns

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester ten­nis player Keanu Du­gars takes a shot.

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester ten­nis player Kemira Jones tracks the ball for a shot.

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester ten­nis player Amana Alvi re­turns a serve.

North Dorch­ester ten­nis player Quinn Worm takes her serve.

North Dorch­ester ten­nis player Daizja Smith tracks down a shot.

North Dorch­ester ten­nis player Daizja Smith tracks down a shot.

PHO­TOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Dorch­ester ten­nis player Daniel May takes a shot.

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester ten­nis player Joy Chen takes her serve.

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