Mohonasen track athletes wear beads in hair as show of solidarity

The girls on the Mohonasen Track team won all three of their meets and the boys won two out of three, but today’s meet meant way more than outrunning the competition.

With all the media attention the Mohonasen Track team received this week, Coach Bill Sherman says he’s proud of his team’s ability to multitask. “They’ve done a really good job of making sure that their preparing and that their getting their practice in and that they’re doing their warmups," he said.

The team did well on the track, but Coach Sherman says it’s what they did off the track that really matters. “This is real life, and it’s something, when something crops up, that you have to stand up for, you got to focus on that, and that’s really more important than the competition," he said.

Student track athletes at Mohonasen School District wore hair beads during their meet on Wednesday.

This comes after recent guidance from the State Public High School Athletic Association, banning student athletes from wearing them.

That guidance was put on a temporary hold – and the athletes are making a statement.

Coaches and players felt the ban against beads targeted Black student athletes because they are the ones who normally wear beads.

When news spread about the ban, the state Education Department released a statement accusing the State Public High School Athletic Association of violating federal and state anti-discrimination laws by banning student athletes from wearing hair beads.

Although the rule banning beads has been temporarily reversed, the team felt it was important to still show unity.

Learn more about the message the athletes hope to spread by watching the video of Taniqua Pennix’s story.