DENVER -- Thirteen girls practice their award-winning routine in a gymnasium basement at Colorado School of Mines.
They competed against other top teams of cheerleaders who took center stage showcasing their spirit and synchronicity.
For the first time joining the Manitou Springs team in competition was 16-year-old, Kory Mitchell.
“She is full of life and full of energy and always wants to be a part of everything,” said Mitchell’s mom.
Her mom, Bonnie King, watches with pride and amazement at a daughter whose dreamed about being a cheerleader since elementary school.
But Kory`s challenge of learning complicated routines increases significantly because of down syndrome.
'It`s just a tough road when you have a differently-abled child. And to see them have a sense of belonging and acceptance is what she wants, of course, is just so beautiful to see it," King said.
Her mom is emotional but happy her teammates see beyond her disability.
“I love that this team has been so accepting of her because they teach her, but she also has things to teach them,” said King.
Things like courage, patience and unconditional acceptance.
“She`s pretty spunky. And she`s got some sass. She loves being out there. It`s nice to see her smile and part of the team,” said a fellow cheerleader.
“In second place, put your hands together for Manitou Springs,” an announcer said.
Kory accepts the shiny hardware and a hand from her teammates.
“It`s my dream come true. I love my girls a lot. I`m a big fan,” said Mitchell.
And her teammates are big fans of her.