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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

**MEDIA ALERT**MEDIA ALERT**MEDIA ALERT**

First “Unified Track & Field” Regionals to be Held Saturday

INDIANAPOLIS—The result of a collaborative partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and Special Olympics Indiana—an inclusive initiative known as Champions Together—the fourth annual Unified Track & Field State Tournament continues Saturday with regional meets at Kokomo and Bedford North Lawrence.

Due to the explosive growth in the number of schools participating in Unified Track and Field this will be the first year athletes will participate in a regional tournament for the opportunity to advance to the state championship. Teams made up of student athletes with and without intellectual disabilities from 24 IHSAA high schools will participate in the regionals with the top five teams from each meet advancing to the state championship. The 2017 Unified Track & Field State Championship meet will be held Saturday, June 3 on the campus of Indiana University. Teams earned the right to advance to these regionals by finishing in the top 3 in 1 of 8 sectionals held last week. Teams from 88 IHSAA member schools competed in the Sectionals, up from 13 in the 2014 Inaugural State Championship.

Officially sanctioned by the IHSAA, Unified Track & Field competitions are judged and scored within heats and flights organized by prior performance. Each heat and flight scores the same number of points, and every participant scores points for their team. In keeping with the philosophy of Special Olympics’ Unified Sports®, there are no individual awards for Unified Track and Field; instead, team awards are earned by the contributions of all team members.
WHAT: Fourth Annual Unified Track & Field State Tournament
Regionals– First

WHEN: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Kokomo 11:00 AM
Bedford North Lawrence 1:00 PM ET

WHERE: Kokomo High School Bedford North Lawrence High School
Kokomo, Ind. Bedford, Ind.

WHY: Two Unified Track & Field regional meets are held to narrow the field of competing teams from 24 to just 10
qualifiers for State Championship held June 3 at Indiana University.

WHO: Bedford North Lawrence Regional: Avon, Bloomington North, Center Grove, Columbus North, Franklin Central, Franklin County, Jasper, Jeffersonville, Mount Vernon, Perry Meridian, Terre Haute South Vigo, Vincennes, Lincoln. Kokomo Regional: Crown Point, Elkhart Memorial, Fishers, Fort Wayne Northside, Harrison, Homestead, Kokomo, Merrillville, New Castle, Noblesville, Pendleton Heights, Valparaiso.

ABOUT CHAMPIONS TOGETHER
Champions Together was established in December, 2012 as the partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana. The partnership provides an award banner to all member schools that meet minimum requirements in the areas of 1) student-led servant leadership, 2) awareness, respect and inclusion as it relates to all individuals with intellectual disabilities, 3) Unified Sports® and 4) fundraising to promote the vision and programs of Special Olympics Indiana and the Champions Together partnership.

Special Olympics International is supporting Champions Together as a model program to activate schools through “Project Unify,” which also has the endorsement of the National Federation of High Schools. You can follow Champions Together and Unified Sports® on Twitter (@ChampsTogether), Facebook and Instagram (@ChampionsTogether). For more information about Champions Together, contact Lee Lonzo at llonzo@ihsaa.org.

ABOUT THE INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1903, the purpose of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. (IHSAA) is to encourage, regulate and give direction to wholesome amateur interschool athletic competition between its 412 member schools. The Association provides state championship tournament series in 20 sports, 10 for girls and 10 for boys. Approximately 160,000 student athletes participate in IHSAA sports on an annual basis. For more information about the IHSAA, call (317) 846-6601 or visit www.ihsaa.org.

ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS INDIANA
Special Olympics Indiana is a not-for-profit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, reaching more than 12,000 athletes across Indiana. The organization receives no federal or state appropriated funds, is not a United Way agency, and relies entirely on corporate, civic and individual donations. For more information about Special Olympics Indiana, call (317) 328-2000 or visit www.soindiana.org.
CONTACT: Lee Lonzo, Director of Champions Together
llonzo@ihsaa.org | (317) 796-5490
Nathan Barnes, Manager of Marketing & Public Relations
nbarnes@soindiana.org | Office: (317) 328-2008 | Mobile: (219) 742-3755