The week before it was overcast and rainy, but fortune shined in the form of 80-degree, picture perfect weather for the inaugural Unified Sports Track & Field Midland Wachusett League Championship at Lunenburg High School on the Saturday of May 19th.
As the heat emanated off the blue rubberized track, eight teams of Special Olympics Massachusetts Unified high school athletes competed in field events featuring the turbo javelin, shot put and long jump and track events consisting of the 100m, 400m, 800m, 4x100m and 4x400m. Lunenburg was host to teams from Algonquin/Westborough, Fitchburg, Hudson, Marlborough, Milford, Nashoba and Oxford High School.
Lunenburg senior Rachel Spurgeon was tapped to emcee the opening ceremonies and did so with an enthusiastic ease and authority. Spurgeon will be attending UMass this fall and plans to major in biology. She introduced Special Olympics President and CEO, Bob Johnson, who in turn thanked Lunenburg and the Mid-Wach League for making the championship meet a reality.
“Special Olympics Massachusetts is proud to have been the founder of Unified Sports back in 1984, but it’s taken this long for it really to take hold, not only here in Massachusetts, but around the world,” said Johnson. “We have a saying in Special Olympics when it comes to Unified Sports … ‘On the field we’re teammates; off the field we’re friends.’ The relationships that are established through Unified Sports are lasting ones, they’re ones that carry on long after the sports experience.”
Lunenburg Superintendent Loxi Jo Calmes thanked all the student volunteers from the high school who would enable the meet to flow smooth and steady. “In Lunenburg we are proud to be teammates on the field and friends outside in the classroom. That’s what Lunenburg’s about and I think it is only fitting that we are having this first Unified Sports event here in our community,” said Calmes.
Lt. Jim Marino of the Lunenburg Police Department and athlete Cole Morgan of Milford High School then walked the Special Olympics torch down the track and Lunenburg athletic director Pete McCauliff officially declared the games open.
After the dust had settled and the results were in, it was time for the awards and medals.
1) Algonquin/Westborough (1:04.8)
2) Fitchburg (1:09.6)
3) Nashoba (1:09.6)
4) Hudson (1:14.4)
5) Oxford (1:16.9)
6) Lunenburg (1:17.8)
7) Milford (1:25.15)
8) Marlborough (1:35.6)
1) Hudson (5:30.4)
2) Algonquin (5:37.2)
3) Milford (5:41.0)
4) Nashoba (5:47.7)
5) Fitchburg (6:00.0)
6) Marlborough (7:24.5)
1) Nashoba (Gold)
2) Algonquin (Silver)
3) Fitchburg/Marborough (Bronze)
More Photos: specialolympicsma.smugmug.com