2010-09-30 / Front Page

Unified volleyball a winning experience for N.K.H.S. athletes

Team links athletes with peer partners to encourage participation
By Geoff Campbell

Jamestown members of North Kingstown High School’s first unified volleyball team include (from left) Ashley Kardosz, Andrew Burrows, Assistant Coach Vincent Claro, Head Coach Laura Hosley, Faith Chadwick, Funmi Richards and Garrett Bucklin. Photo by Geoff Campbell Jamestown members of North Kingstown High School’s first unified volleyball team include (from left) Ashley Kardosz, Andrew Burrows, Assistant Coach Vincent Claro, Head Coach Laura Hosley, Faith Chadwick, Funmi Richards and Garrett Bucklin. Photo by Geoff Campbell Fourteen boys and girls competed last Thursday, Sept. 30, at Woonsocket High School in North Kingstown High School’s first-ever unified co-ed volleyball interscholastic match.

The team played three games and was bested twice by Woonsocket: 25 to 18 and then 25 to 23, but won the last match-up, 25 to 15.

Overall, said team coach and islander Laura Hosley, the inaugural match was a winning experience for the fledgling team.

Unified volleyball is a sport that links athletes with peer partners, encouraging kids “who otherwise might not participate” in interscholastic athletics to join a team, according to James Marcello, North Kingstown High School’s director of athletics.

The R.I. Interscholastic League, partnered with the R.I. chapter of Special Olympics, has helped to create a unified volleyball league that includes a team from North Kingstown High School and teams from seven other high schools throughout the state.

Marcello said that he is excited about the team and the turnout of youths.

“It’s fantastic – I can’t be happier,” he said. “If our goal is to increase participation in our school’s athletic programs – and it is – then this is it.”

Islanders Garrett Bucklin, Andrew Burrows, Faith Chadwick, Ashley Kardosz and Funmi Richards are members of the 2010 team.

According to Hosley, the emphasis is on fun and creating opportunities for kids to learn a sport that can last a lifetime.

Hosley should know – she has been playing volleyball since she was 14. She and her entire family play regularly, and she knows its benefits. She added that she understands the importance of kids being busy and staying healthy through exercise that is both fun and engaging.

Hosley said she is very impressed by the progress of the team thus far.

The players “listen and they want to learn,” she said. “They are developing quickly – improvement is so fast.”

When Hosley heard that Marcello was looking for North Kingstown’s first unified volleyball coach, she found him and said, “You have your coach.”

Hosley, formerly an assistant JV coach at N.K.H.S., was looking for something that might complement her love for the game and her desire to coach. Coaching again – and coaching this team – does just that, she said.

Vincent Claro, assistant coach, is now a freshman at CCRI. Last year, he was a senior on the school’s varsity boys’ volleyball team, playing on the back line and serving.

He said that this team is “great for students,” adding that it gives them an opportunity to learn and enjoy the sport – and to play against other schools.

The first home match is scheduled for tomorrow – Friday, Oct. 1, against East Greenwich High School at 3:30 p.m. The team has also been invited to play during tomorrow night’s Jamestown Day event at Ft. Getty, Hosley said.

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