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corollary sports

Creating more opportunities for student athletes

Story by MCPS June 15th, 2017

new varsity sports

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) offers high school student athletes a chance to play on three interscholastic corollary sport teams. To be eligible, a student athlete cannot be on any other varsity team at the school. The goal of corollary sports is to increase athletic participation opportunities for all students, in particular students with disabilities. An important goal of the corollary teams is to achieve an approximately even ratio of participants with and without disabilities. Corollary sports include team handball in the fall, bocce in the winter and allied softball in the spring.

A student-athlete from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School prepares to hit during the allied softball championship game in May 2017.

Allied softball, bocce and team handball are varsity level teams at each of the 25 MCPS high schools. The games and matches are played indoors for each sport, and the public is encouraged to attend. The teams travel around the county to play their schedule, which gives the athletes an opportunity to meet their peers at other schools. The Cheer and Pom Pon squads often attend the games and matches to support the corollary teams. Each team has one or more coach, and referees are a part of each league game or match. MCPS has established rules for each corollary sport. Team handball rules are primarily based on rules established by the International Handball Federation (IHF), with modifications appropriate for MCPS students and facilities. For bocce, MCPS follows United States Bocce Federation (USBF) rules and Special Olympics rules, with minor modifications. For allied softball, National Federation Slow Pitch Softball rules shall apply, with certain modifications and exceptions.

Players and coaches stand for the playing of the National Anthem at an allied softball match.
The Montgomery Blair Blazers Pom Pon squad perform at halftime during a team handball match.
The match referee (on left) and the Churchill High School coach (in green on right) are close to the action at a team handball match.


Bocce is a precision ball sport played in many countries around the world. Based on ancient games played in the Roman Empire, bocce developed into its present form in Italy. There is a French variant of the game called pétanque. The game is traditionally played on natural soil and asphalt courts, with metal or plastic balls. The game has been modified for high schools using the United States Bocce Federation (USBF) and Special Olympics rules, and is played in gymnasiums using “Bubba Bocce” (gel-filled) balls.

The referee at a bocce match, measuring the distance to determine the closest ball to the smaller "jack" or "pallina" ball in yellow.

Team handball

Team Handball is a minor sport in the United States, but it is gaining in popularity at some major universities and in Montgomery County, Maryland public high schools. MCPS is the only school system in the nation that offers team handball as a varsity high school sport. The U.S. is represented in international competitions, such as the Summer Olympics and the Pan American Games, by the United States men's national handball team and the United States women's national handball team. In team handball the object is to score points by throwing the ball into the opposing goal. Matches are usually high scoring and fast paced. The goals are surrounded by a 6-meter (20 ft) zone where only the defending goalkeeper is allowed, so goals must be scored by throwing the ball from outside the zone or while "diving" into it.

Team Handball, like all the corollary sports, is a co-ed sport, with a roster of girls and boys that play together.
A player throwing a shot on goal while "diving" into the restricted zone. The player must release the ball before his foot hits the floor.

allied softball

Allied softball is the spring season corollary sport at MCPS high schools. It is played in gymnasiums with 10 players on the floor for each team. All team members get to bat, and at 2 strikes the batter gets to use a tee. There are no strikeouts or walks, and any players that have trouble hitting a thrown pitch get to hit the ball from a tee. A regulation game is six innings long, and a new inning cannot begin after one hour, thirty-minutes from the start of the game. The ball is a softer type of softball called the Jugs Light Flight 11", and the bats are a soft, safety variety designed for indoor play.



During the 2016 - 2017 school year the Montgomery Blair High School Blazers won the team handball championship, the Thomas S. Wootton Patriots won the bocce championship, and the Sherwood High School Warriors won the allied softball championship. Congratulations to all of the student athletes!

2016 - 2017 Montgomery Blair High School Team Handball
2016 - 2017 Thomas S. Wootton High School Bocce
2016 - 2017 Sherwood High School Allied Softball

Take a look at the Sports Insight program about MCPS Corollary Sports produced in June 2017.

Footnote: Photographs by Neil Rubino. Sports Insight produced and edited by Neil Rubino, MCPS Communications
Montgomery County, MD, United States