Wolverines host Angel City Sports


ANGEL CITY SPORTS: Promoting the Paralympic movement, Mayor Eric Garcetti ’88 speaks with participants and athletes on Ted Slavin Field. July 31.

Claire Conner

The school partnered with Angel City Sports, a Paralympic organization based in Southern California, to host an event for athletes with physical disabilities or visual impairments July 31. The organization provides free athletics programming, training and equipment for people of all ages and ability.

Head of Athletics Terry Barnum saidover 100 athletes participated in sports including track, basketball, table tennis and martial arts. 

Mayor Eric Garcetti ’88, who attended the event, said in a tweet that he takes pride in the progress Angel City sports has made since he joined them in 2013.

“Having participated in 

@AngelCitySports [sic] games since it began, I’m excited to see how far this program has come,” Garcetti said. “L.A. is committed to increasing access to adaptive sports and low-cost fitness to all young Angelenos [sic].”

Angel City Sports Associate Director Camille Mahlknecht said the event brought the community together again after months of quarantine.

“It was one of our first events after such a long time in isolation, so I think it was really impactful for not only the athletes with disabilities [who] were able to come out and play sports but also for the nondisabled community to be able to come out and see that everybody is capable of being active,” Mahlknecht said. 

This event marked the first time the school has worked with Angel City Sports. Barnum said he understands the value of sharing the campus with athletes who would otherwise not have access to its facilities.

“We are blessed to have great facilities and great athletes here at Harvard-Westlake, and we are trying to find ways to make our school accessible to a wider section of the Los Angeles community,” Barnum said. “We want to be a school that is open and accessible to everyone in Los Angeles, and this was a way for us to get people on campus who might not otherwise have been.”

Barnum said that the Athletics Department is planning to host another Angel City Sports event soon and students and coaches will be encouraged to participate.

“What we are trying to do next is to get some of our athletes and some of our coaches involved as volunteer coaches for the oranization,” Barnum said. 

Mahlknecht said she encourages students and coaches to participate in upcoming events, regardless of their familiarity with Paralympic sports. 

“I think it would be a life-changing experience,” Mahlknecht said. “You will learn more about your sport and you will learn more about yourself and giving back to the community through a passion like sport is a home run. You do not have to be nervous if you do not know much about disabilities or if you have never interacted with someone who has a disability. You just have to come out and try to stay open-minded.”