Rush-Henrietta cross country program embraces runner with special needs

Local Sports

HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — Most middle school students get their start in modified sports. Corey Maltsev, an eighth grader at Roth Junior High School, is no exception.

Maltsev is a special needs student who has been on the modified cross country team for two seasons, and also participates in wrestling and track. Rush-Henrietta has become a cross country powerhouse, and even at the modified level, the program is competitive.

During meets and at practice, Maltsev is accompanied by a guide to keep him on track, but his teammates are always there to support him.

“I would like to say the district as a whole is very inclusive, but this team particularly has been really welcoming to him,” said coach Todd Jones.

At every meet, the entire team will join Maltsev at the end of the course, running with him and cheering him the whole way to the finish line.

“I enjoy it so much,” said Maltsev. Motivation and hard worked helped Corey to shave one minute off his personal best time during Monday’s meet.

Teammates and coaches feel as though his sense of humor and personality are the real stars of the team.

“Having him here changes the entire atmosphere of our program,” said coach Maureen Nolan-Defillis. “He brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

One of his teammates, Mikey Flannery, summed it up best: “Without Corey, there is no team.”

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