HVA’s third Unified title: ‘They worked and earned this’

HVA’s third Unified title:  ‘They worked and earned this’

By Steve Williams
Hardin Valley Academy remains undefeated in the Unified Track and Field Division of the TSSAA State Championships.
The final results were officially posted on the TSSAA site last week and HVA was at the top of the team standings for the third time.
Hardin Valley won the inaugural event in 2018 and was victorious again in 2019. All of the TSSAA’s spring sports championships were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The Hawks totaled 54 points, with Bartlett High coming in second place with 45. Gibbs (36) edged Franklin (35) for third. Volunteer (24) and Collierville (22) completed the six-team field.
Jennifer Hayes, the head coach of Hardin Valley’s Unified teams since the beginning, said: “Our goal was to 3 peat. We went into it chasing another championship. They all had PRs in at least one event, so seeing them reap the fruits of their labor was rewarding. They worked and earned this. Nothing was given.
“We practiced the entire spring semester.”
The eight members of this year’s team included Trey Bozeman, Conner Rittenberry, Rebekah Lyles, Laynie Jaramillo, Stormey Copeland, Daniel Gooch, Mason LaSorsa and Davon Morelan.
Hayes’ coaching staff included assistants Tim Lee and Casey Queener. The staff has remained intact all three seasons.
Hardin Valley finished in first or second place in every event.
Jaramillo and Copeland combined for the win in the girls’ 100-meter dash.
Rittenberry and Bozeman produced a victory in the boys’ long jump.
LaSorsa and Gooch prevailed in the shot put.
Gibbs’ Rylee Scraggs and Cheyenne Henson combined for a win in the girls’ long jump.
Hardin Valley’s 4×100 relay team that placed second included Bozeman, Rittenberry, Morelan and Jaramillo.
Lee facilitates the National Unified Champion School Program at HVA, which implements Unified Sports. Unified Sports integrates the skills of athletes with and without disabilities.

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