Cheerleaders with disabilities overjoyed to be included in state competition: ‘The girls loved it’

When the cheerleaders took the mat at the inaugural Heart of Texas Spirit Showcase in mid-November, one squad stood out from the rest: No Limitations All-Stars. This special squad, exclusively for individuals with disabilities, performed alongside more than 20 other squads from Central Texas at Live Oak Classical School in Waco.

“The girls loved it,” shared Julie Potts, the mother of cheerleader Madi Potts, who has Down syndrome. “The crowd at Live Oak was so amazing. They roared so loud for our girls that it brought me to tears and left our girls feeling like they just won the entire competition.”

The girls, who are part of a nonprofit organization that provides sports opportunities for individuals with disabilities, dedicated their weekends to practicing for nearly two months in order to perform at the state competition. They received assistance and guidance from a team of supportive coaches including Katy Cordell, the head cheer coach at Live Oak; Kathryn Willis, a student at Baylor University; Maria Nybert, the coach for No Limitations; and Melissa O’Hare, a volunteer coach for No Limitations and an assistant varsity cheer coach at Live Oak.

According to Cordell, the girls did an outstanding job showcasing their spirit, cheering, and demonstrating their stunts and tumbling skills. They quickly became crowd favorites. Cordell expressed her admiration, saying, “It’s inspiring to see the cheer community transform to what it was when I was in high school to being so much more inclusive to anyone that wants to cheer. No Limitations has inspired my team and me and highlighted what being a cheerleader is all about, which is showing up for your team and giving your best, no matter what.”

The school plans to make the competition an annual event, and the No Limitations cheer squad is eagerly looking forward to participating again next year.

This heartwarming story reminds us of the importance of inclusivity in sports. Let’s share this story to spread the joy it brings.