OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island cheerleading team is wrapping up its season, despite some unique circumstances. The Oyster Bay High School athletes are walking away from a national competition victoriously.
As CBSN New York’s Nina Kapur found out, this team continues to beat the odds.
Bianca McEvoy can fly, she can tumble, and help lead her team to victory.
She does it all with a smile, but without one of her senses.
“I was born legally blind. It’s caused by albinism, which is a lack of pigment in the hair, eyes, and skin,” the 11th grader said.
McEvoy’s vision is 20/200, meaning what someone with perfect vision can see at 200 feet, she can only see at 20.
But that’s never stopped her.
“I just really love the thrill of tumbling, being in the air, and kind of just doing unusual things,” McEvoy said.
The thrill of cheerleading can be a little more intense for McEvoy than her teammates. She relies solely on sound and touch to complete routines, which can be considered more challenging because she’s a flier, the teammate in the air the most.
“I learned how to do a round-off back handspring by the sounds the hands and feet make by hitting the floor,” McEvoy said.
This winter, she helped lead the varsity team to nationals, where it placed ninth in its division. Her teammates are always willing to lend a helping hand.
“My teammates always make me feel comfortable. They never made me feel like I was anything different or that there was a problem,” McEvoy said.
Her coach calls her an inspiration.
“She is probably one of the best athletes on this team,” varsity head coach Chelsea Bressingham said. “She’s a leader on the team. She’s a captain. She actually helps everybody else out. She never lets anything stand in her way.”
And she won’t. McEvoy said she would like to attend Harvard after graduation and plans to continue cheering.
“It has definitely taught me self discipline and to shoot for the stars,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen when you try something new and you just might like it. I just happened to love cheerleading.”
As for others in similar situations, McEvoy said don’t be afraid to be seen, adding people with disabilities can achieve the same successes as people without.