Unified Track finishes strong


Caroline Keane, Janet Perusse and Kara Cormier

And they’re off! Oliver Laidlaw, center, runs with partner Julihana Tonge in one of his races.

Not only did Unified Track and Field end with a fun season, but team member Oliver Laidlaw received the Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award today in recognition of his contributions to CHS Athletics over many seasons as a student athlete.

Classmates at the Seniors Awards ceremony in the gymnasium cheered when he accepted the honor.

Laidlaw just finished his most recent Unified Track and Field season alongside teammates Kaegan Cummings and Emma Ducharme, seniors; Logan Pineo, a junior; sophomores Jonathan Bevilacqua, Anna Martin and Julihana Tonge; freshmen Addison Cain, Avery Carter and Emily Lemoyne; and fellow Class of 2021 member Anders Hindley.

Like many of his track teammates, Laidlaw has competed on a variety of unified sports teams. CHS offers unified soccer, basketball and cheer. All of these require the same level of commitment as other sports teams through practices, meets and games, and travel to competitions at other schools when contests weren’t scheduled to take place here at CHS.

“Unified athletes are the source of inspiration for the entire Concord community. Oliver is the latest in a long line of Concord athletes to carry on a great tradition of inspiring others to be their best!” said Steve Mello, Athletic Director.

Unified sports were established at CHS and other Granite State schools more than a decade ago with the support of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) and Special Olympics of New Hampshire.

Anyone can participate.

Athletes who are not intellectually disabled, called partners, work to support intellectually disabled athletes compete to the best of their abilities. Track events involve racing, jumping and throwing.

“So me specifically, I don’t work with one specific person,” said Ducharme. “I just kind of float around. Some of our members like to stick together and they are particular about their people, and others are just open to everyone. And of course, they love making friends with everyone.”

Unified sports also help kids make long lasting friendships outside of athletics.

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