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Oklahoma Couple Coaches Special Needs Cheer Squad To 5th National Championship

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Empire Elite – Heart of Empire special needs cheer team at a NCA competition. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada] Empire Elite – Heart of Empire special needs cheer team at a NCA competition. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada]
Empire Elite – Heart of Empire performing on stage at a NCA competition. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada] Empire Elite – Heart of Empire performing on stage at a NCA competition. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada]
Brandon, an athlete on Empire Elite – Heart of Empire, performing on stage for the crowd. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada] Brandon, an athlete on Empire Elite – Heart of Empire, performing on stage for the crowd. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada]
David Owens, coach of Empire Elite – Heart of Empire, and athlete, Lindsey. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada] David Owens, coach of Empire Elite – Heart of Empire, and athlete, Lindsey. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada]
Kristin Owens, coach of Empire Elite – Heart of Empire, and athlete, Lindsey. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada] Kristin Owens, coach of Empire Elite – Heart of Empire, and athlete, Lindsey. [Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Canada]
OKLAHOMA CITY -

David and Kristin Owens coach the Empire Elite – Heart of the Empire special needs cheerleading squad. In February, they lead the team to their fifth National Cheerleading Association (NCA) All-Star National Championship.

On the weekend of Feb. 28 to March 2, 2014, David and Kristin Owens traveled to Dallas, TX to coach the cheer squad at the NCA competition. The Heart of the Empire practiced for months to prepare to perform for family, friends and judges. Their hard work paid off when they took home their fifth National Championship.

Kristin and David Owens met at the University of Oklahoma while cheering for the Oklahoma Sooners. The couple started their own cheer gym and decided to give back to the community. In 2007, Empire Elite - Heart of the Empire was started to provide children with special needs the opportunity to perform and compete to reach their highest potential.

Parents of the cheerleaders shared a few words about the coaches and their dedication to the children.

"I am eternally grateful to David and Kristin for all their dedication and time they give to our children. This gives our differently-abled children the opportunity to have fun with friends while learning new skills, performing routines, to obtain additional physical therapy and exercise while building their self-confidence," said Jennifer Wall, parent of Brandon. "David and Kristin have built this program based on acceptance, and encourage these special athletes to do their best. Support is always provided to those that need additional help which makes this a successful program. We have won five NCA National Championships with their coaching, patience and perseverance."

Related Story: The Unseen Side Of Competition Cheerleading

"None of what these special needs athletes do would be possible without the dedication and patience of the coaches and helpers who work with these amazing kids," said Natalie Robinson, parent of Keira. "It takes a special person to do what these wonderful people do with our kids week after week. They know how to push our kids to reach the potential we all know they have, and they know when one of the kids need just a little extra moment of love to keep them focused. It is truly remarkable to watch them work with these kids and see the bonds that form."

"Honestly, these athletes give me more than I could ever give them," said Kristin Owens, coach of Heart of Empire.

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