INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. – A North Carolina cheerleader is making history at Porter Ridge High School.

Brielle Mulroy, a senior at Porter Ridge, is the first student with special needs to hold a position on a varsity sports team at the school.

What You Need To Know

  • Brielle Mulroy, a senior at Porter Ridge High School, made school history as the first student with special needs to join a varsity athletic team

  • Mulroy has been taking gymnastics lessons since she was a child and has represented North Carolina in the Special Olympics

  • Mulroy is a member of the varsity cheerleading squad at Porter Ridge and cheered during football and basketball season

Mulroy has Down syndrome, but said that doesn’t hold her back in school or athletics.

“I like to be a star. That’s who I am,” she said.

Ashley Lawson, the basketball cheerleading coach, said Mulroy started tumbling and gymnastics in elementary school and wanted to join the high school team this year.

“She was still involved in the Special Olympics outside, the gymnastics outside, and it was a lot on her plate,” Lawson said.

Mulroy competed in the Special Olympics for gymnastics, and after cheering in middle school, she was hooked.

“She loves doing the cheers, she loves the music that’s played,” Lawson said.

Lawson said in most cases, students with special needs are often on teams as assistants or equipment managers. When she saw Mulroy’s energy and passion, she wasn’t going to let her sit on the sidelines.

“She can be on the cheer team just like anyone else,” Lawson said. “She can practice, and go to games, and keep up with all of it just like everyone else.”

The only thing bigger than Mulroy’s personality is the impact she’s making off the court.

“All of the other cheerleading teams have commented, come over, said hello, said how much they are touched by our team,”  Lawson said.

Mulroy said she hopes to see more special needs athletes on sports teams in Union County and around the country.