Adaptive athletes are getting a jump start with a partnership developed with Mesa Public Schools. Two adaptive basketball teams offered by the Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, recently transitioned their junior adaptive basketball team into a unified team. Stapley Junior High School and Red Mountain Ranch Elementary students were asked to join the unified team to play alongside their peer adaptive athletes of the same age.
“So far, what we have seen has been amazing,” Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Recreational Programmer Jacquie Gallo said. “Not only have students from Stapley Junior High and Red Mountain Ranch embraced this program, but they have been challenging our disabled athletes to play on a whole new level. It’s exciting to see the athletes and peer partners playing side by side, developing friendships and learning from each other. We hope to continue this partnership into other sports as well.”
“The city of Mesa and Mesa Public Schools have a long history of working cooperatively for the citizens of Mesa, especially those with special needs,” Mesa Public Schools Athletics Director Dr. Steve Hogen said. “It is very rewarding to see and hear of the tremendous impact these programs have on people’s lives.”
The teams have been practicing for one-hour each week, gearing up for the Area Basketball tournament this Saturday, Feb. 11, and the State tournament on March 17. The Area tournament game will be at Red Mountain High School, 7301 E. Brown Road, and Fremont Junior High, 1001 N. Power Road.
The unified team currently practices on Monday nights at Stapley Junior High School, 3250 E. Hermosa Vista Drive, from 6 to 7 p.m.