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Time to shine

Unified hoops team
off to 3-0 start
By Lauren Read
Observer correspondent

While the rest of Champlain Valley
Union’s spring sports teams are
in the midst of preseason practices,
there is one program that is already
off to a winning start.
The Unified basketball team
— which partners students with
disabilities and athletes without
disabilities on the court — is 3-0,
just one year after winning the
inaugural state championship.
“Winning the championship at
the Patrick Gym was a lifetime
highlight for several of our athletes,”
said CVU co-coach Peter
Booth. “There are definitely players,
both athletes and partners, who
would love to win another title.”
CVU has won games over Burlington,
BFA-St. Albans and Colchester
to start the year.
With the wins have come the
crowds for the Redhawks, who are
enjoying the notoriety.
“We had our first home game last
week, and our side of the stands
was full of students, faculty and
staff,” Booth said. “Having a crowd
at our games is something that our
athletes and partners really enjoy. It
just elevates their sense of belonging
and pride.”
But CVU isn’t content. The
Redhawks are striving for improvement
as the season progresses, and
another title run.
“Several of our players this year
have been playing with us for all
three seasons, and you can really
see the improvement in their basketball
skills and their ability to
understand the game,” Booth said.
“It’s been fun to watch.
“Honestly, our primary goal is
to have a good time and enjoy the
season together,” he added. “We
have a really great group of kids.”
The unified sports basketball
program in Vermont finished with
12 teams last year and started this
year with 16 as a partnership between
the Special Olympics and
Vermont Principals Association
has helped the sport grow. The VPA
added bocce and bowling to the
unified sports program this year.