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Deaf cheerleader first to make Oklahoma All-State team

Oklahoma School for the Deaf senior Keith Montrell Adams from Tulsa is believed to be the first deaf student ever named to the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s All-State Cheerleading Team. Picture taken on November 11, 2015. / Oklahoma School for the Deaf

OKLAHOMA CITY - According to the Oklahoma Coaches Association, Tulsa resident and Oklahoma School for the Deaf senior Keith Montrell Adams is the first deaf student ever selected to make Oklahoma's All State Cheerleading Team.

Oklahoma School for the Deaf head cheerleading coach and high school special needs teacher Karlie Campbell asked 18-year-old Adams to try out for the team on October 27.

Adams agreed and competed in cheer, jumps and tumbling against 38 other cheerleaders at the regional selection competition in Washington, Okla.

He then moved on to All State selection try-outs for the west squad on November 11 in Jenks, Okla. Sixty-four cheerleaders tried out for the team in Jenks for the west and east squads.

Adams was then selected among 16 competitors to be a part of the All State Cheerleading Team.

"I was shocked...it was amazing," Adams said. "I was able to show everybody that a deaf person can do it. The hearing people were all watching. The communication was there. It was a real feeling of unity."

Oklahoma Coaches Association Executive Director Milt Bassett was happy to see Adams selected.

"The Oklahoma Coaches Association stands for athletics, and this just goes to show that anybody who is a top athlete can achieve something great, regardless of their disability."

Adams also runs track, plays basketball, is a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a member of the National Honor Society.

"Montrell has worked really hard," Head Coach Campbell said. "He started not being able to do some of the tumbling, jumping and cheer routines, but I knew he was capable of doing it because he was willing to put in the time and effort."

Adams will perform with the team during the All State football and basketball games.

"I feel strongly with hard practice that more deaf students can make All State teams," he said. "Everybody has a chance."

Oklahoma School for the Deaf is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

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