The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

Unified BBall Season Begins at RHS

Alex Burg
Dudley Ferguson takes his shot.

Unified basketball is Rhinebeck’s newest athletic team.

But what is Unified Basketball? It is one of the many Unified Sports pioneered by the Special Olympics and offered around the world.

“Unified Sports is a fully inclusive program that combines approximately equal numbers of students with intellectual disabilities and students without intellectual disabilities on sports teams for training and competition,” said Susannah Renzi, Special Education Teacher.

The goal is to create friendships that go farther than the court, as well as give many of these players a chance to compete where there previously was no opportunities to play sports.

“I like that it’s less competitive than the regular basketball team. All my teammates are supportive, and they never get mad if I mess up. Everyone’s super encouraging,” said Jada Smith, Class of 2027.

Coached by Assistant Principal Marc Burg and Susannah Renzi, the team of 16 players played its inaugural home game against Arlington, in which they fought hard but just fell short 50-57.

Henry Frishknecht, Class of 2025, summed up the game.

“Today’s game [against Arlington] was great—seeing our whole team participate and play great defense and make a lot of shots against a team that has had five years more experience playing unified basketball than we did,” said Frischknecht.

Many players who just finished winter basketball have to shift to a mentor/support role, something many of them are new to. This could be particularly difficult for athletes as many are taught, and want, to win all the time. Yet Unified basketball is about growth and producing good experiences instead of a win-at-all-costs mentality.

The Hawks will play against Red Hook, Pine Plains, Rondout and Arlington this season, so come out and support the players.


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