Special needs cheerleading team wins first at national championships

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Elkhart It's a team unlike any other in Elkhart. In fact, it’s the only team of its kind here in Michiana.

We are talking about the Indiana Ultimate Wings, a special needs cheerleading team that started seven years ago.

“Back when we first started the program there were probably, I would say, between five and 10 special needs teams throughout the United States. Within the past two to three years, almost every state has about 15 teams,” says Coach Sally O’Connor.

The Indiana Ultimate Wings consist of six cheerleaders and two coaches. They practice every Sunday, sometimes more, depending on their competition schedule.

Just about three weeks ago, this group of girls placed first in the Champion Spirit Group National Championships in Illinois.

“When we see them perform here at the gym, especially when they get on the stage at the competitions, the place just lights up, their faces light up, and everybody there, whether they are part of Indiana Ultimate or not, they stand to their feet and give standing ovations,” explains General Manager and Program Director Rob Slagle. “Seriously, there is not a dry eye in the place when they finish their routine.”

The Wings do their routine without any help. The coaches stay off the floor the entire time. The girls do their own stunts, learn the choreography and just work really hard.

The Wings will continue to compete. Since they came in first they have another competition, the big one, coming up.

The Wings are always looking for more members. If you are interested or know someone who is, you can contact them for more information.

428 Pine Creek Court, Elkhart, Indiana 46516

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