SportsHoward University the 1st HBCU to offer figure skating as a sport

Howard University the 1st HBCU to offer figure skating as a sport

Howard University made history yet again as it became the first historically Black college and university to field an intercollegiate figure skating team.
The Howard figure skating team was founded by two lifelong skaters, Maya James and Cheyenne Walker, who each told the US Figure Skating website that they began skating at about 7 years old.As both began matriculating at the university, James, a junior studying psychology; and Walker, a senior studying political science and Afro-American studies, felt the pangs to get back on the ice.

After deliberating between pursuing skating or enrolling in a Historically Black College or University, two students at Howard University made a groundbreaking choice to establish the nation’s inaugural HBCU skating team.
— U.S. Figure Skating (@USFigureSkating) October 25, 2023

“I just missed the sport honestly,” James said. “I didn’t really skate that much during the pandemic; I stopped skating for like two years. As I was coming to college, I also saw a lot of the U.S. collegiate Instagram pages and how they went to competitions and how the competitions look so fun and welcoming.”Ironically, James and Walker were not familiar with one another. However, during the winter break in 2022, James said she read an article about Walker professing her love of the sport and decided to reach out to her on Instagram to start a figure skating team at the Washington-based HBCU.
“When Maya reached out to me, I was so excited because I was speaking to other girls from Figure Skating in Harlem who go to Howard and we would always speak about how we wish there was skating, but we didn’t know how to go about it,” Walker old the outlet. “So, when Maya was like, ‘Yeah, I want to start this,’ I was on board for sure because it’s definitely something that I wanted to see on our campus community.”
It took an entire semester for the pair to register the sport with the school, convince the university to provide funding, and then get it registered officially with U.S. Figure Skating. At the end of the summer of 2023, the Howard University Figure Skating team was officially formed.

Even though Walker is nearing graduation, which means that she won’t be able to compete, she will serve as the skating team’s president and is grateful that she helped create something that will last into perpetuity.

“Although I’m in my senior year, I’m so happy that Maya brought it to the table,” Walker said of James. “I’m glad we’re working as a team to make this happen because I’m so excited that I can leave my impact on the campus community.”

Source: Rolling Out

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