The Impact Xtreme cheer squad has just become the first all-Black team to win the National Cheerleaders Association High School Jr. club novice national championship.
While the title is worth the celebration alone, the team’s coaches said it is about so much more than trophies and tumbling.
"My heart is in this because I knew that there was a need in our community because the African American cheerleader is underrepresented here in Oklahoma,” coach Naomi Jenkins said.
The girls that make up the team come from walks of life, but they each get the same opportunities on the squad.
"It is really unfortunate some of the situations that we have seen here in cheerleading, so it is our way to get them out and see other things besides their little radius of the eastside of Oklahoma City,” Jenkins said.
Getting ready for the competition wasn’t easy.
"In cheer practice, first, we sweat, we stretch and we practice our stunts and we pretty much have to practice over and over again until we get it,” cheerleader Monica Sherrod said. “They can yell, but it is all worth it."
The moment was worth it to show other girls that this could be them, too.
“It means to them, they can do it, too,” Sherrod said. “They can be on another team they want to and they have a chance to be great."
Nothing is out of reach for those who are determined and willing to put in the work.
If you are interested in joining or helping the Impact Xtreme team, you can find the team’s website here.
If you would like to donate to help expand Black students’ opportunities to cheer, click here.