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Howard University’s first HBCU skating team makes history

Howard University has become the first HBCU to ever have an intercollegiate figure skate team.

Maya James, a Howard University student who has been skating since childhood and Cheyenne Walker are the two founding members of this team.

According to U.S. The process of getting the club registered with their university and U.S. Figure Skating required a semester to complete, but the Howard University Figure Skating Team became official in the summer of 2023. They were the first intercollegiate team ever at an HBCU.

Diversity Ice founder Joel Savary takes a selfie (right) with the Howard University Figure Skating Club at their first official practice. (Credit: U.S. Figure Skating

U.S. reports that James, a psychology junior, and Walker a senior who studies political science and Afro-American Studies, both grew skating up and wanted to get back onto the ice. Figure Skating Reports.

James replied: “I honestly missed the sport.” “I didn’t skate much during the pandemic. I stopped skating for about two years. “As I was going to college, I saw many of the U.S. College Instagram pages. They went to competitions. The competitions looked so welcoming and fun.”

James, during their 2022 winter break, read an article on Walker and contacted her via Instagram to see if she was interested in working with him to form a club for figure skating. Walker then developed the team constitution and the two collaborated to develop the budget and schedule.

Walker told that she was “so excited” when Maya reached out. She had been talking to girls who were part of Figure Skating Harlem and went to Howard. We would often talk about how we wished there was skating on campus, but didn’t have any idea how to do it. “So, Maya’s response, ‘Yeah I want to do this’, was a big deal to me because I knew it was something I wanted to see in our campus community.”

James was elected president of the club, and Walker as vice-president. The club then began to recruit student skaters. Some were experienced and some wanted to try the sport for the first. After months of planning and recruitment, the team had its first practice in October.

Clarke stated that “being the first is a big responsibility, because you are trying to set a precedent for others.” “[Another team member, Gabrielle Francis], and I thought that she was the sole skater at Howard University, but we were both in the same place and didn’t know it. If another HBCU feels inspired to form a figure skating squad or creates one, then I believe that it would bring together many of the skaters currently on these campuses, creating a powerful HBCU team.

The first competition of the team will be held at the University of Delaware in February 2024.