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    COX: Pack Cheer Competes for National Honors
    Pack cheer at PNC Arena
    Pack cheer at PNC Arena

    March 14, 2014

    The late legendary comedian Bob Hope attributed much of his success and long life to always having something to look forward to.

    Perhaps the current group of coach Harold Trammel's NC State Cheerleaders also subscribe to that philosophy. After a fall and winter of performing for various Wolfpack teams and civic groups, the Pack cheering squad now looks forward to competing for national honors in stunt and routine competition.

    "We're leaving the second Tuesday in April for Daytona Beach," Trammel echoed in a recent phone interview. "We're all excited about it. We'll travel Tuesday and practice Wednesday and Thursday for Friday competition. The mascots will compete on that Saturday."

    Trammel believes two consecutive second place finishes behind Oklahoma State and Louisville will give this group the impetus to claim another national title.

    "We just finished a small second in those two years - a hundredth of a point," he noted.

     Pack cheerleaders have claimed four national titles - three in the Universal Cheerleaders Association and one in the National Cheerleaders Association.

     Trammel's group of captains have been expressive in their excitement and expectations of national competition:

    Abigail Tucker: "Nationals is a huge deal to my teammates and me. I am currently a junior on small coed and have placed second two years in a row - falling short by less than a point. We are out for blood this year. Being so close to first fuels our passion to win."

    Meredith Hamlet (small coed): "I am extremely excited for nationals this year. We have gotten second two years in a row and third the year before that. I have a gut feeling we could win it this year. We have a lot of talent. I am excited to see what Daytona Beach has in store for us. This is my last nationals since I am a senior and I have a feeling it will be a memorable one."



    Allison Shores: "Coming into this season I felt very confident on our skill level as a whole. We have worked so hard to get this far. It takes months of preparation for that two-minute and 15 seconds out on the bandshell and I have a feeling it will be worth it."

    Tyler Downs: "This season has been a blast to cheer. Our women's basketball team has played phenomenally and shown they are one of the best teams in the country. This year's cheer team is one of the most talented teams we have had in years. I fully expect to go down to Daytona and be a contender for a national championship. I hope the other teams are ready because NC State is hungry and on the prowl."

    Tate Sherman: "The talent on our team this year is unprecedented. Finishing last year has made our team hungry to go back to Daytona and hopefully win a national championship. The goal for us is to hit a "clean" routine both days. Our routine is jam packed with difficult skills. Our coaches are really great and know exactly how to prepare us for a national championship. We are just ready to put on a show?"

    Brian Smith: "As a captain, I am proud of the steps my team has made to come together and reach a goal. With every sport and team, there are obstacles. We have done well with what has been thrown at us and are very excited to put our all into our performance at Daytona. I think we are perfectly capable of hitting a "clean" routine and from there, the system will play out."

    Nigeste Carter: "Personally, I am extremely excited for the nationals in April. As cheerleaders, we spend the majority of our time cheering on and supporting other teams at NCSU. So, nationals is our opportunity to show everyone that we can do much more than wave pom poms and shout chants. Although this will be my second time competing at nationals, it is still as exciting as the first time, especially since the team as a whole has a new attitude - one that is willing to do whatever it takes to get us where we want to be -- come time to hit the bandshell in April."

    State cheerleaders are broken into two groups. "We have a cap of 50 and and there's usually 25 in each group," Trammel said. The groups share cheerleading duties in each sport.

    Besides cheering for the football and basketball teams, they also work gymnastics and volleyball games.

    "It's a lot to keep up with," Trammel emphasized. "They work out and practice 12 hours a week."

    That includes working on strength and conditioning as well as routines and stunts.

    "There is some scholarship money involved - up to $2500 with smaller amounts," Trammel continued. "There is not a lot of money involved, but the benefits attract participants, including uniforms, practice wear, warmups, and practice bags."

    One of the most attractive benefits is that all travel expenses are paid for as well as access to academic support and summer camp expenses.

    By George Cox,

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