Unified Track and Field: where a welcoming atmosphere meets friendly competition

On March 4, 2024 Unified Track and Field welcomed the team back for another season of competition on the first day of spring sports for Perkiomen Valley. Several new ninth graders, four managers, and existing players comprise the team. Each individual has a different, but equally important role to fulfill.

“I am a partner, so I help out the athletes in their different events, and I help run practice,” senior Yohana Gabriel said.

Gabriel has been on the team since her sophomore year after head coach and tenth-grade gym and health teacher Ms. Witman recommended she join. 

“She was always speaking very highly of it and encouraging us to get involved, so I decided to do it,” Gabriel said. 

The team’s friendly and welcoming environment does not detract from but rather encourages competitive meets, reminding everyone to perform at their best.

“I like running the short distances,” junior Elijah Jackson said. “Track is very good for you [if you] like running.” 

Senior Vraj Patel is one of Elijah’s favorite buddies on the team, and during practices, they spend a lot of time laughing and goofing around together. As a group, everyone works to establish a sense of belonging and inclusion in the community. 

“My favorite part is the meets and the bus rides when we all get together and have fun as a team,” Gabriel said. “Just interacting with everyone creates such a positive environment.”

Another student, senior Jackson Jones, initially became involved in Unified for his autistic brother, Devin. Jackson wanted Devin to have an activity to participate in during his freshman year. 

“I wanted my brother to get in better shape and also compete with his best friend Bode Basile,” Jones said. 

As a three-time returning member, this will be Jackson’s last season on the team with Devin. He is hoping to win another PAC Championship to finish out the year and foster success among the athletes. 

Following spring break, Unified will have its only home meet on April 16th at 3:00 p.m. against Methacton High School. Students are encouraged to support the team at the Thomas J. Keenan Stadium, where they will be competing in mini javelin, shot put and a multitude of running events. 

“I like track and running in the races. It’s fun to do,” sophomore Alex Sandoval said.