Winona Senior High School students identified with disabilities will have another opportunity to show their athletic skills later this year.
The Winona Area Public Schools Board on Jan. 6 unanimously voted to add adapted bowling to the list of activities offered by the high school. Activities Director Casey Indra said that teams will be entered in both the Cognitively Impaired (CI) and Physically Impaired (PI) divisions in the Minnesota State High School League and begin play in late February.
Indra said that he surveys students about the activity offerings every year, and it was clear the district needed additional options in adapted athletics. Winona offers an adapted floor hockey team, but he noted the barriers that prevent some students from being able to participate in that activity due to the nature of the activity itself and the fact that Winona needs to travel at least two hours to the Twin Cities area for road games.
“We are trying to give all of our kids the opportunity to participate in activities,” Indra said. “This is a need that we’ve had for a long time, and for one reason or another, it kept getting overlooked. I’m not going to overlook it any more.”
All of the competitions — unless the Winhawks qualify for the state tournament — will be virtual, which means there is no travel involved. The teams will practice or compete twice a week at Westgate Bowl, which is working with Indra and the district on an affordable agreement.
More information, such as how to register, will be sent to students in the special education program soon.
MSHSL also offers adapted soccer and adapted softball. Board members said they were interested in other athletic opportunities for students with disabilities, and Indra pledged to come back with more information at a later meeting.
In addition to adapted floor hockey and adapted bowling, Winona also sponsors the Special Athletic Competition, which is a day of activities and fun for students identified with cognitive and physical disabilities in Grades K-12.