The Southampton Mariners unified floor hockey team won a silver medal at the 14th annual Special Olympics New York Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City on Saturday.
The unified team is made up of 16 student-athletes from Southampton High School, nine of them being special needs students and seven of them being general education students. Of the 22 teams at the tournament who hailed from upstate New York, New York City and Long Island, six of them, including Southampton, were unified teams.
Southampton was seeded second after its first game, then played two more games. Francisco Rojas, David Mahoney, Caroline Palumbo, Harrison Gavalas, and Alex Tzatzapotla each scored goals and Abigail Woods was the team’s goalie and came up with a number of key saves. Joining them on the team were Bhuvaneshar Ramkhelawan, Ross Ebrus, Phillip Ferraiuolo, Luke Column, Matthew Donovan, Danny Jaya, Tinixara Ramos, William Segarra, Justin Brown and Hunter Tuthill.
Brian Tenety, the high school’s adaptive physical education teacher and Special Olympics adviser, was at the forefront of putting the team together, while special education teachers Tania Ciancio, Laura Franklin and Bruce Muro all lent a helping hand.
The National Hockey League works hand-in-hand with the Special Olympics to help run the tournament. Gold medal winners are given authentic jerseys donated by the NHL.