The Californian

Michael Brown soars to new heights

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Michael Brown soars to new heights

Junhee Park, Staff Writer

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The Dublin High School track was filled on May 19 with league champion athletes getting ready to try and run and jump their way to the NCS Meet of Champions.

One of them is Cal High freshman Michael Brown, a student with special needs who has already made history during his first year on campus.

Brown has competed all season in the North Coast Section’s new unified division, which allows students with special needs to pair with other students and form a team. 

The pairs compete in the two track and field events: long jump and the 100-meter dash. 

Brown and his teammates, senior CJ Cunanan and sophomore Annes El Adimi, won in the EBAL title for both the 100m dash and long jump this season. Brown competes with Cunanan in the 100m dash and with El Adimi in the long jump.

The students also won their events on May 19 at the NCS Tri-Valley Meet, and  advanced to the NCS Meet of Champions  last weekend at UC Berkeley. Results were not available before The Californian went to press.

Winners of the NCS unified division won’t advance to the CIF State Finals this year, but after all the events’ success this season, the organization is considering changing that and adding more events.

“You can see he really enjoys being out there [competing and training],” said head track and field coach Mark Karbo. “He is a fun person to coach.”

Karbo first approached special education teacher Christine Niemoeller in the fall looking for potential candidates. Along with two other students, Brown was recommended by Niemoeller to participate.

“She identified Michael as one of the kids with lots of athletic abilities,” said Karbo. “We gave him a basic introduction to track and he was fast.”

This season, Brown attended track practice once or twice a week, working on skills such as jumping techniques and block starts. 

Brown said that warm ups are his favorite part of practices.

“I like warming up,” said Brown. “I warm up with my teammates.”

Brown also seems to have good teamwork with his partners, Cunanan and El Adimi.

“Michael is very good to work with,” Cunanan said. “He already knows what to do. I have nothing but pride for Michael.”

Added Karbo about Brown, “He’s outgoing. I think he’s really getting along with his partners and I think it’s a positive thing all the way around.”

Niemoeller was especially excited for Brown’s recent accomplishments. 

Brown is not only setting records in track and field but in sports involvement for students with special needs as well.

“This is my first class we’ve had students involved in sports,” said Niemoeller. “This is the first year we are being able to participate. It’s been fabulous for all of our kids. It’s fabulous to see the excitement in their eyes and voices.”

Niemoeller also spoke positively of Brown’s work ethic and his love for sports.

“Michael is hardworking and tries hard at just about everything he does,” said Niemoeller. “He’s very athletic which is pretty awesome to see. He and his friends always bring up a lot of the Warrior games in class.”

Brown explains that he has loved sports since he could remember. 

In addition to track and field, he is involved in the Little League Challenger division, an adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical or intellectual challenges. 

Niemoeller said Brown is always active and will start small football games with friends during breaks.

Although Brown comes from a background of sports, he said he still feels nervous to compete. He competed against other high schoolers throughout the course of the season, but he said he never had such a big meet such as NCS Tri-Valley Meet in Dublin.

“I am most excited for being in the finals,” said Brown on his recent achievements. “I feel pretty good. I feel ready.”

As for the moments before a race or a jump, Brown says he has no superstitious routines. He just makes sure his shoes are tied tightly.

“My shoes came undone after I finished a race once,” explained Brown.

The unified competition seems to have had a positive impact on Brown because it has given him a chance to showcase his athletic abilities and to compete on a team, Karbo said.

Niemoeller also points out that Brown wears his Cal track and field sweatshirt with a great deal of pride.

“I feel more happy [after doing the program,]” said Brown. 

ly getting along with his partners and I think it’s a positive thing all the way around.”

Niemoeller was especially excited for Brown’s recent accomplishments. 

Brown is not only setting records in track and field but in sports involvement for students with special needs as well.

“This is my first class we’ve had students involved in sports,” said Niemoeller. “This is the first year we are being able to participate. It’s been fabulous for all of our kids. It’s fabulous to see the excitement in their eyes and voices.”

Niemoeller also spoke positively of Brown’s work ethic and his love for sports.

“Michael is hardworking and tries hard at just about everything he does,” said Niemoeller. “He’s very athletic which is pretty awesome to see. He and his friends always bring up a lot of the Warrior games in class.”

Brown explains that he has loved sports since he could remember. 

In addition to track and field, he is involved in the Little League Challenger division, an adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical or intellectual challenges. 

Niemoeller said Brown is always active and will start small football games with friends during breaks.

Although Brown comes from a background of sports, he said he still feels nervous to compete. He competed against other high schoolers throughout the course of the season, but he said he never had such a big meet such as NCS Tri-Valley Meet in Dublin.

“I am most excited for being in the finals,” said Brown on his recent achievements. “I feel pretty good. I feel ready.”

As for the moments before a race or a jump, Brown says he has no superstitious routines. He just makes sure his shoes are tied tightly.

“My shoes came undone after I finished a race once,” explained Brown.

The unified competition seems to have had a positive impact on Brown because it has given him a chance to showcase his athletic abilities and to compete on a team, Karbo said.

Niemoeller also points out that Brown wears his Cal track and field sweatshirt with a great deal of pride.

“I feel more happy [after doing the program,]” said Brown. 

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Michael Brown soars to new heights