By Jacqueline Frawley
There’s no doubt that Forest Grove has an excellent Special Olympics program. Our high school offers several unified sports (soccer, basketball, track, bowling, softball) as well as unified theater and Partner’s Club. Along with all of those activities, Forest Grove is the only high school in the Portland are to have a unified cross country team. This team, which just started its second season, consists of a small group of athletes who practice twice a week and run in league meets on Wednesdays.
The 7 athletes who participate had their first meet on Wednesday the 14th at McMinnville High School. Saed, Anthony, Kian, Ray, Emily and Juan ran a 5k while sophomore Eli ran a 3k. Juan, a junior, got 5th place in the JV boys’ race.
Unified Cross Country has 3 great coaches: Coach Abby, Jill, and Claire, who all help the athletes improve their strength and stamina. The team also welcomes back Hasan as assistant coach, a Forest Grove graduate who brings a positive attitude and a love for running.
This cross country team provides an extremely positive environment for its athletes. The runners involved are always offering encouraging words and cheering each other on, no matter how fast they are. As junior Emily Jones puts it, “Unified Cross Country is fun and enlightening experience because you get to meet new athletes and get some exercise”. Ray, a sophomore, likes cross country because he can work hard to improve while hanging out with his friends.
Forest Grove High School is lucky to have such an extensive unified program. Whatever your interest may be, there is a team out there for you! If you want to get involved in unified sports, contact Jill Hertel or visit the athletic office.