Return to Headlines

Gila Ridge student wins AIA Unified Sports Athlete of the Year

Gila Ridge High School’s Maria Sodari was the recipient of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Unified Sports Athlete of the Year for the 2017-18 school year.

Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition.

Sodari, who was a member of the Gila Ridge Spirit Line, was selected as Athlete of the Year after being nominated by teacher Tricia Severs and going through an interview process.

“Every day Maria amazes us by not allowing her exceptionality to define who she is,” Severs said. “She rises to every challenge and hurdles over every obstacle. I am proud she is a role model for every student”.

Sodari was honored during the 2018 AIA Champions Award Luncheon, an annual event that recognizes a variety of athletes, administrators, coaches and others that support interscholastic athletics in the state.

James Kuzniak