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ver the past year, they endured funding challenges, hectic practice schedules, and late-season injuries. But, together, they leaped over whatever obstacle came their way and now stood determined to secure a first-place victory. “We’d been coming in second place overall for the past six years,” cheer coach Brandi Tatum said. “We had so many individuals on the team who were hungry for that first-place award, so the drive was a little bit more intense for us to bring it home this year.” But before that hunger could be satisfied, the group would face another obstacle. During warm-ups, senior Evelyn Ross, one of the team’s veterans and a two-time all-star, tore her lateral meniscus. After

years of cheering on the sidelines at sporting events and center stage at MEAC competitions, Ross was not going to let the injury stop her from performing. “At that point, I knew we had already been through so much to get here, and this was just another bump in the road. Once we won, it would all be worth it,” Ross said. “At first, Coach Tatum said we might have to drop out, but I told her, ‘there was no way!’ I would be out there on one foot if I had to.” So, Ross got busy and prepared to work past the pain and into the champions’ circle. The trainers wrapped her knee, and she literally hobbled on one foot into the routine. “I wasn’t able to do the whole choreography for the routine, but I came in for the stunts,” Ross said.

Her tenacity paid off. The team performed a near-perfect routine. Coach Tatum said she felt the anticipation in the air as the team waited for the results. “The team couldn’t sit still,” said Tatum. “This was the moment of truth.” While the team awaited the results, fellow coach Felicia Barnes remained cool. She knew it was finally their time. “As we stood there, facing our competitors, I told myself, ‘there’s no way we could not win this. I know we’ve got this,’” she said. Her confidence was remarkable, considering the facts. The FAMU cheer team had come in as underdogs and the reigning champs, Morgan State University, had won for the past five consecutive years.

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A&M MAGAZINE // WINTER 2017 // 41

Profile for FAMU Communications

Winter 2017 A&M Magazine  

The Winter 2017 edition of the award-winning A&M Magazine celebrates remarkable milestones, including the accomplishments and anniversaries...

Winter 2017 A&M Magazine  

The Winter 2017 edition of the award-winning A&M Magazine celebrates remarkable milestones, including the accomplishments and anniversaries...