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Unified Sports Athletes Shine On The Basketball Court



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There was lots of fun and excitement on the Unified Sports basketball court this winter with Newtown High School special needs athletes working with partners to compete and learn with each other and opposing squads.

“We had so much fun. We hosted a huge tournament at the NYA and attended other tournaments at Pomperaug (of Southbury) and Bunnell (of Stratford). It was a busy season — lots of bus rides,” Coach Larry Saladin said.

“The athletes love the friendships that develop through the team concept. The sport itself is a conduit to building close relationships that extend beyond the basketball court. As the season progresses, the more connected the partners and athletes become. The values of compassion, patience, understanding, and persistence develop in and through these relationships,” Saladin added.

With basketball season in the books, attention now turns to the spring with a different sport.

“We are looking forward to the track and field season. New faces will emerge and new friendships will form. Our first practices will begin in mid April,” Saladin said.

Saladin and Assistant Coach Beckie Miles worked with athletes Jessica Andreotta, Kidist Blessey, Kory Briganti, Ben Ismail, Grace Mackessy, Jaden Newham, Angel Olson, Timothy O’Sullivan, Patrick Reisert, Maddie Rose, Nicky Santos, Lucas Knipple, and Andrew Beyloni. Leaders are Michaela Bonacci, Adelyn Skerik, and Emma Ehrens. Partners are Sophia Dutsar, Michael Lawlor, Alicia Ligouri, Addison Plummer, Ally Pettengill, Lauren Murphy, Maddie Marza, Amanda Faircloth, Sarah Heinen, Lilian Ismail, Reid Giessler, Tyler Rossvally, Sarah Hubner, Riley DeLoughy, Zoey Lehecka, Pablo Necco, Jamie Piccullo, Jack Carta, and Owen Carta.

Paraeducators are Nichole Marrazzo, Jen Blair, Mandy Monaco, Elizabeth Calabrese, Barbara Bloom, Ruby Fitzpatrick, Alyssa Finkenstadt, Alexis Barnett-Moreno, and Chris O'Heron.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Timothy Sullivan, flanked by Kiddist Blessey and Reid Geissler, dribbles for the Newtown Unified Sports team during action this winter. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Korey Brigante dribbles the ball. Kiddist Blessey and Tyler Rossaly trail the play.
Korey Brigante moves up the court.
Ben Ismael has the ball. Amanda Faircloth is on the left and Jessica Andreotta on the right.
Angel Olsen lines up a shot at the basket.
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