Seymour’s fifth season of Unified track and field underway

As far as Samantha Carter is concerned, cheerleading is the biggest strength of this year’s Seymour High School Unified track and field team.

No, the athletes aren’t doing chants, flips and stunts.

They are supporting and encouraging each another to do their best as they are running, jumping and throwing, and they hope that carries the team to success in the fifth season of the sport at the school.

Fellow senior Carly Kaiser echoed Carter’s comment.

“I think we have an overall good bond with our team,” Kaiser said. “We all are very encouraging, and even in our events, I think we’re really strong in long jump and shot put this year, and if we can just get some more boys to come out, I think our running events will be amazing.”

Seymour has 29 athletes on the 2023 roster. Twenty-four of them are girls.

Unified track and field started at SHS in the spring of 2018. The 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and SHS made history in 2021 by qualifying for the state meet for the first time. The Owls tied for ninth out of 12 teams.

Unified Sports has been a joint effort between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana since 2012. It recognizes and offers opportunities for students with and without disabilities to participate on the same team for sports training and competition and compete in an IHSAA-sanctioned activity.

Alanie Flack is in her first year as head coach of Seymour’s Unified track and field team after assisting two years ago.

“This is my first coaching gig ever, and so I’m learning right along with everyone else,” she said.

Valerie Reitman is the assistant coach, while Kirk Manns and Rachel Parker also are helping this spring.

Flack said the team’s first practice was March 6, and the Owls started out practicing Monday through Thursday because athletes have to have at least 10 practices in before they can compete in a meet. After spring break, Flack said practices switched to Mondays and Wednesdays.

“I think that the students who have participated in the past really have helped the new athletes and partners as well as the new coaches,” she said. “I think that we have a good, solid number of participants, and they are all here to compete but also to be a part of a team and to support everyone.”

In Unified track and field, the events are 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 4×100 relay, long jump and shot put.

Carter and Kaiser are part of the girls relay. With the limited amount of boys on the team, a girl runs a leg of the boys relay.

“They can still join,” Kaiser said, encouraging more boys to come out for the team. “They just have to get a certain amount of practices in and final forms turned in before they can compete.”

The season started Wednesday night in a meet at Jennings County, and four others are scheduled before the sectional May 20. The home meets are April 26 against Columbus East and Jennings County and May 8 against Columbus East, the latter being Senior Night.

“I would just like to see each athlete and partner improve in their own personal times and measurements and just continue to build that team and showcase their skills to the whole school because I think that we’re still trying to get everyone to know who we are what we’re doing,” Flack said. “My goal is to be a consistent coach and continue because that hasn’t happened in the past, so that’ll just help us build our team and improve every year.”

Carter and Kaiser are excited about their final year of Unified track and field.

“I love all of the friendships that I’ve made throughout the years and the strength that I’ve built as a person being able to be on the field and the track with these other students,” Carter said.

“I just love it,” Kaiser said. “I’ve loved it since freshman year. I’ve always wanted to be involved in it. It’s just a great opportunity for the athletes and partners within the high school to come together and build friendships. I would recommend everyone to at least come and visit a track meet because it’s just a great experience.”

Seymour High School Unified track and field 

Head coach: Alanie Flack

Assistant coaches: Valerie Reitman, Kirk Manns and Rachel Parker

Roster: Maggie Braman, Allison Bryant, Claire Carlson, Samantha Carter, Maya Couch, Ashley Darlage, Aleia Findley, Mollie Findley, Caden Harriss, Olivia Hendrix, Daniela Jimenez Viveros, Diliana Juan Gaspar, Ximena Juarez, Eric Juarez Zarate, Carly Kaiser, Anne Lenart, Maria Morales-Acevedo, Kalli Napier, Angelina Ortiz, Katie Otte, Ingrid Pacheco, Kevin Robb, Janette Romero-Sanchez, Aryahna Tindell-Clark, Jennifer Vera Lopez, Alexandria Woodard, Caleb VonDielingen, Jesse Young, Britney Zuniga


April 19 at Jennings County, 5:30 p.m.

April 26 vs. Columbus East and Jennings County, 5:30 p.m.

April 29 conference at Bedford North Lawrence, 11 a.m.

May 8 vs. Columbus East, 5:30 p.m.

May 15 at Jennings County, 5:30 p.m.

May 20 sectional at Floyd Central, 1 p.m.

May 27 regional at Bedford North Lawrence, 1 p.m.

June 3 state at Indiana University, 11 a.m.