A new sports team is making a name for itself in the Hannibal Central School District (HCSD) as the Unified Basketball program has experienced tremendous success in its inaugural year.
In partnership with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics New York, the unified sports program aims to bring inclusive athletic options to schools. The program unites athletes of all abilities and aims to develop youth leadership, advocacy and school engagement.
“This provides an opportunity for all of the team members to play a varsity sport and gain the experiences that come with that,” said HCSD Director of Pupil Personnel Services Joseph Musa. “It really gives the students a sense of partnership and community while strengthening their individual pride and building purple pride as well.”
The sense of purple pride has been evident all season long, as Hannibal teachers, students, administrators and community members have filled the bleachers to cheer on the Warriors. For the athletes, the element of school pride has help fuel them during each game.
“It is a great experience to watch,” Musa said. “We have had a great turnout at our home games and everyone is extremely supportive and having a great time cheering our team on. With the success of the basketball program, we are hoping to add a Unified Bowling team next year.”
The basketball team is coached by Jim Graham and Zach Farden, and the roster includes Trent Bartoszewski, Kelsey Combes, Allyson Jones, Hannah Longley, Victoria Mills, Tyler Murray, Dustin Recore, Alex Rivera, Jacob Russell, Emma Sanford, James Somers, Brad Wiggins, Brent Wiggins and Tiffany Young.