Photo credits: Christy Zhuang

Special Olympics Unified Programs bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same team. Throughout the year, Unified Partners participate in a variety of sports to improve physical fitness, sharpen skills, challenge the competition and have fun!

Special Olympics adopted Unified Programs in 1989 to expand sports opportunities for athletes seeking new challenges while dramatically increasing their inclusion in the community. Today, the initiative includes almost all Special Olympics Texas sports. Unified Programs competitions are an important part of Special Olympics World Games, as well as, local, state and National Games.

Ballinger began to prepare their Unified Track team earlier this year and competed, for the first time, at the Heart and Sole relays in Brady on March 24th.

In the shot put Jesse Horton-Vela threw 20ft 3½in and partner Aiden Knight threw 35ft 7in. Heaven Ornelaz threw 16ft 7¼in and partner Daniella Luna threw 20ft 4in.

In the long jump Jay’Vion Dampeer jumped 7ft 8in and partner Ian Gressett jumped 16ft 11in. Kamy Cueller jumped 1ft 10½in and partner Nadia Molina jumped 6ft 2in.

In the 100M dash Lynn Fuentes ran 23.46″ and partner Nadia Molina ran 15.46″ Lynn Fuentes ran 16″ and partner Alina Pena ran 17.4″. The men’s 4×100 relay team consisting of Jesse Horton-Vela, Jay’Vion Dampeer, Jayden Fuentes and Ian Gressett ran a 55.68″.

Congratulations to all the athletes competing for a great first event!

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