Participants Run, Walk or Roll In 5K At WCHS

For the second consecutive year, Troy Carolus, 19, Leesburg, crossed the finish line of the Run, Walk or Roll 5K first at the Warsaw Community High School cross country field.

The Wawasee High School senior’s time was 19:18:92, though his dad, Garett Carolus, said Troy, who has autism, was shooting for somewhere in the 17-minute mark.
It’s the second year for the 5K run/walk and one-mile walk or roll that benefits the WCHS Unified Track Team.
“We’ve been running together for a long time,” Garett said. “He goes out and runs all by himself in the yard. Yesterday, he ran 20 miles around the yard. We have five acres.”
Garett started running about 10 years ago. When Troy was just a kid, he’d bike alongside his dad. Once he got a little older, Troy would run with him. Then throughout high school, Troy ran cross country.
Last December, they did the 50K at the Chain Of Lakes. That was Troy’s longest run.
Garett said they found out about the Run, Walk or Roll 5K through his wife, who is part of the Lakes Area Autism Network. 
Last fall in cross country, Garett said Troy’s time was around the 17-minute mark. He ran a road race in Nappanee a couple of weeks ago and got second there. 
Besides being proud of his son’s accomplishments, Garett said running is “something we can do together, too.”
One of Troy’s favorite things is to get a personal record (PR) – or as he likes to call it, a “Pop at a Restaurant.” If he achieves a PR, Troy gets a pop at a restaurant. 
“He won today, so he not only gets a pop at a restaurant, he gets to also pick out the restaurant. So two PRs in one. He loves refills,” Garett said.
After Troy’s first-place finish, the others in the top five overall included: Eric Cusick, 18, Winona Lake, with a time of 21:09:51; Garett Carolus, 50, Leesburg, 22:12:43; Andrew Owens Jr., 14, Winona Lake, 23:07:69; and Emily Bugg, 10, Winona Lake, 23:26:99.
Brenda Linky, WCHS special education coordinator, explained that unified track is an Indiana High School Athletic Association sanctioned sport that combines students who have intellectual challenges with students who don’t have those challenges on the same team. In its inaugural event last year, Warsaw won the state championship.
She reported 100 people pre-registered for Saturday’s event, but about another 20 people signed up on the day of the event. 
With the money raised from the 5K, Linky said all the proceeds will benefit Warsaw’s unified track team and they also will make a donation to the Indiana Special Olympics. 
Having the team has impacted both its intellectually challenged students and the non-challenged students. The intellectually challenged students are made to feel more like a part of the school. The students without the challenges get an appreciation for what all kids are capable of doing, she said.
Linky said they have 26 kids on the team, which is almost too many because they must have an even number of kids with and without challenges. The team has more kids without disabilities than with disabilities.
After the 5K, the one-mile walk or roll on the track, which is wheelchair accessible, provided a way for kids with physical disabilities to be included in Saturday’s event.

(Story By The Times Union)