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The loudest cheers of Tuesday's track and field meet at Gettysburg High School came when Tyson Myers, Jessie Rexroth and Kristin Lauver crossed the finish line.

The three athletes, who have disabilities, train with the school's new Allied track and field program, coached by William Posner, and got their chance to show off their improvement from the six-week program in front of a varsity crowd.

The new Allied program did not have other programs in the area to compete against this year, so they took part in exhibition events during the last two meets of Gettysburg's varsity season.

Myers, Rexroth and Lauver high-fived each other, coaches, parents and athletes as they left the track after both running events, all celebrating noticeable improvement from their races at Gettysburg's meet last Thursday. Myers and Rexroth also took part in the shot put.

"It's exciting because these kids didn't have, or maybe didn't want to, engage in other opportunities that were offered (in the community)," Posner said. "Now we have this whole group, which is nice. Hopefully they'll take the training they're learning here and apply it later on."

Three varsity athletes — Michael Heeschen, Alexis Kranias and Karen Stanley — volunteered to run alongside Myers, Rexroth and Lauver during the races to give them a bigger feel.

Lauver's father, Rick, said he never imagined his daughter getting an opportunity to compete in front of a crowd.

"I would never see her outdoors," Rick Lauver said. "She's got more energy, that's for sure. It's been really great, I think she's gonna keep it up."

Gettysburg will also launch an Allied soccer program in the fall, coached by Posner, and has an Allied bowling program.

Athletic director Michael Williams said he hopes to see the track and field athletes compete in four events next season.

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