Visually impaired students take on southern rivals at wrestling and cheerleading competition

Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 9:00pm

Extraordinary kids here in Louisiana are taking the sports of wrestling and cheerleading to a whole new level, because they're doing it partially or fully blind! It's all part of the South Central Association of Schools for the Blind's annual wrestling and cheerleading competition. The Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired hosted the event.

170 visually impaired students from across six southern states came together Saturday to show off their wrestling and cheerleading skills.

"Us as a blind community do full touch where as in regular schools they don't have to start with a too hand touch, but our ability once we get our hands on them is amazing," Patrick Fontenot, Captain of the LSVI Trojans wrestling teams.

Fontenot loves to wrestle and too win: "Oh yeah personal pride. It's my last year I'm already conference champion, so I got a lot riding on this year."

Fontenot says wrestling against an LSVI student is no different than wrestling against any other high schooler. In fact, he says he'd welcome the opportunity to test his skills against anyone on the mat.

"If you want to wrestle us hey you know where to find us:LSVI," Fontenot said.

The LSVI Trojan cheerleaders spent months getting ready for Saturday's event.

"Even though you're nervous going in the door, once you are on that mat it's like you're excited you work hard for this," La'Prinecia Gilbert, captain of the LSVI cheerleaders, explained. "It's going to pay off once you're done. "

Cheer team moderators uses a different approach to tackle learning new cheers.

"We usually teach them physically by taking their hands and their actual body and showing them what to do," Gilbert described.

The squad mastered the dance competition and helped pump up team spirit.

"You're happy just doing cheerleading no matter how long it takes you or how hard it is," She explained.

LSVI students say no matter what they'll never let anything hold them back from being the best they can be.

"I want the world to know that we are not going to stop," according to Fontenot. "The team is only getting better, and we are going to keep going."


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