Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

“We get students from our special ed program, as well as our regular ed program, and we pair them up together, and we’re just one big team ‚” said Kayci Smith, the Frenship Unified Track sponsor and varsity cheer coach.

“Some of our athletes have already picked their partner and who they want to be with because they already have a relationship with them,” Smith said. “You would be amazed at the fact of half of these kids are already sitting at lunch with some of our partners.”

The athletes compete in tandem in the events of long jump, shot put, and the 4 x 100m relay. Unified Track is an UIL sanctioned competition, in which Frenship will compete in two local meets, one which FHS hosted for the first time on Thursday and the other at Lubbock Cooper, to held on March 8. The winners from the local meets will move on to the Area meet

Frenship senior Gavin Phillips wants his partner Christian Manley to remember these meets long after they and others have crossed the finish line.

“We’re out here for people like Christian, to provide themselves a smile and a happy memory that we can all remember- including the impact it makes on myself and the participants as well,” said Phillips