The Southampton School District’s Unified Bowling team competed in a regional tournament at Bowl Long Island in Patchogue on Saturday. According to Brian Tenety, the high school’s adaptive physical education teacher and Special Olympics adviser, the program became the first unified school on Long Island to compete in a regional competition.
“Even though they competed against each other, they are opening doors for other schools to follow,” he said.
The tournament featured traditional Special Olympic teams, as well as individual and ramp bowlers to go along with Southampton’s Unified squad.
As described on its website at specialolympics.org, Special Olympics is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, and unified sports does just that, joining 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,” it reads.
Luke Collum, Matt Donovan and Phillip Ferraiuolo won the unified division at the tournament. Santino Arnold, Harrison Gavalas, Wyatt Newcomb and Zachary Muller placed second, followed by Jordan Corwith, Bhupati Ramkhelawan, Ross Ebrus and Justin Brown in third place and Ryan Stelling, Hallie Beeker, Hunter Tuthill and Abby Woods in fourth place.
Liam Kelleher and Paula Retana each won their respective ramp divisions while Robbie Matz and Juliana Figeroa placed second and Carlos Bernal placed third.
Tenety wanted to send a huge thank you to Caroline Palumbo, Bhuvaneshar Ramkhelawan, Jack Muller, and special education teachers Jacklyn Anderson and Lori Giorlando for volunteering their time to help at the tournament, “and most importantly with our athletes.”
“We have a lot of great things going on when it comes to Special Olympics, and helping create a platform for our students to all have an equal opportunity to be involved in school events and athletics,” Tenety said.