Integrated Studies Student Featured on Good Morning America
Gwynedd Mercy University Integrated Studies student Sebastian DeSimone was featured on Good Morning America 3 for his role in ensuring students with intellectual disabilities nationwide can compete in Division III athletics.
"I wanted to join the team at Gwynedd because I wanted to keep on running and see where it would lead me," Sebastian told GMA3. "I tell myself that you can do it, believe that you can. Before a race, I tell myself that it's great to be here."
Sebastian fell in love with Track & Field and Cross Country when he began running in seventh grade. He joined the team at West Orange High School in New Jersey and continued to improve his 5K time during those years.
When searching for colleges to attend, Sebastian knew he wanted to continue running. At the time, students in non-degree seeking programs such as Integrated Studies were unable to participate in collegiate-level sports.
Mercy Makes the Difference
Determined to continue his athletic career, Sebastian and his parents were not going to give up so easily. In partnership with Keith Mondillo, Director of Athletics, and Ariana Amaya, Program Director for Integrated Studies, Sebastian was able to successfully obtain a waiver allowing him to run on GMercyU’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams.
Because of Sebastian’s perseverance, The NCAA’s Subcommittee for Legislative Relief approved a change that will make it easier for students with intellectual disabilities nationwide to compete in Division III athletics.