Tri-County Team Receiving Overwhelming Support


Screen shot courtesy BTV

The 2022-2023 Tri-County basketball team.

Kristy Duong

The tri-county team has been doing well this year and people wanted to find a way to honor them. On February 10th Southeast rearranged the normal bell schedule so that the whole school could come and support the team.

“It’s important to show support for all of our groups here. We try to show up for wrestling, basketball, football, and all our sports. They’re one of our sports teams so we got to support them as well,” Math Teacher Tom Noonan said.

Noonan was the person who came up with the idea of an all-school assembly to watch them play. He took his idea to principal Ben Mitchell who thought it was a great idea.

Tri-county is a sports team here at Southeast that allows special needs students to play in competitive sports. They currently play soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter.

“Tri-county is a league developed to give equal opportunity to some of our students that may not have the same opportunity in varsity athletics. This is another opportunity for them to letter, be engaged, and be in the community. To still be a part of athletics here at Southeast,” Tri-County coach Zach Rathman said.

The players are grateful to be able to play. But even more grateful that the whole school is there to watch them play.

“It’s fun. The fans support me. You guys. The coaches. I love it. Happy. Family come, support me,” Tri-County Player Ulysses Cardona-Deloera said (12).

“Makes me play harder, we dance all the time, everybody laughs and cheers,” Tri-County Player Benjamin Williams said (9).

Overall, the game was very successful. The bleachers were packed, and the support was amazing.

“I cannot thank you guys enough and the support staff, admin, all the way down to the student support system and everyone else here. Thank you to every single person helping us out because these kids love it and seeing them love it makes my day even a little bit better,” Rathman said.

Hopefully, this will lead to more opportunities in the future.

“We’re starting to see events like this kind of come at KSHSAA. They have unified bowling. They’ve talked about unified track as well. It’s expanding. The special Olympics been doing some great work with KSHSAA to get more events like this at our high schools,” athletics director Kyle Haught said.

Even after a loss, the players felt thrilled about the outcome.

“It’s powerful. I just want this assembly to happen again and again for our home games, so everybody can come and be really happy,” Tri-County Player Kyan Hackney said (12).