Dec. 2, 2013
After endless hours of practice and conditioning, several Wolfpack cheerleaders have qualified to compete in the 2014 UCA College Nationals in January. Two separate groups will represent the Wolfpack, including an all-girls group and a partner stunt couple group.
Allison Haller, Megan Holzer, Abigail Tucker, and Morgan Pierce were chosen to compete for the all-girls stunt group after sending in a tape with a routine that ultimately would be their ticket to the National Championship. For the group of girls, this is their second year in a row that they have been able to qualify. All four of them found out they had qualified in different ways, but were ecstatic when hearing they had been chosen as one of the teams who will be competing on a national stage.
“I was walking my dog when I found out we had qualified. One of my friends texted me congratulations, but I had no idea what she was talking about. Once I figured it out, I started screaming by myself,” said Pierce.
Breaking into the top five this year and claiming the number four spot, Tucker said that the best part of being chosen to compete is knowing that all of their hard work paid off.
Tucker said, “I think this year is going to be especially exciting, because we placed a lot higher going into the competition. Last year we came in 10th, and now we are sitting in the number four spot.”
While the all-girls stunt group is proud of their first step, they still know that there is a lot of work to be done before the championship takes place. Having to work around winter break, Pierce said that setting up practices becomes more difficult. However, they have the advantage of team chemistry working in their favor to combat distance.
Pierce said, “Since we compete in January, we have to make sure to get in a lot of practice. Last year our stunt wasn’t as clean, so we are working on improving that. It’s nice that we all have some experience though with knowing what to expect from this competition.”
Preparing for the national stage, Tucker said that her group will be ready when it is time to compete.
“Three of us in the group have been working together for three years, and four of us have been working together for two years, so we all have great chemistry. This makes it easy to do stuff outside of practice like running to better prepare ourselves.”
Also competing for the Wolfpack in the Coed Partner Stunt group is Nigeste Carter and Sheldron Fulcher. They are the first partner stunt couple to qualify for the Wolfpack since 2008.
After sending in a 60-second routine of stunt moves, Fulcher and Carter were surprised at how quickly they received word of qualifying. Carter said the decision came so quickly that she didn’t believe it, but was then extremely happy to know that her and Fulcher’s dedication and hard work had been proven.
Before sending in their tape, Fulcher said that he and Carter had to come up with challenging stunts which knew would give them a competitive advantage over some other groups entering the competition.
Fulcher said, “Nigeste and I practiced like we normally would have, but came up with some of the hardest stuff that we could do. Once we got that down, we put all of our moves together in the best way possible. It’s all about repetition and conditioning.”
Making sure to emphasize that communication is key in partner stunting, Carter said that this type of stunting can be difficult, because it is sometimes frustrating to coordinate with a partner. However, she said that communicating effectively and efficiently is what contributes to her and Fulcher’s success.
Carter said, “Shelly and I are good friends outside of partner stunting, so it makes the communication aspect a bit easier.”
Performing on the national stage doesn’t seem to bother either group, and they said that they all feel confident in their abilities to perform well.
Tucker said that being with her best friends takes the edge off of being nervous. Remaining comfortable with their routine and hitting their moves will be a key factor in the outcome of the competition.
Fulcher said, “It’s all about who hits the best. Everyone’s routine is going to be different and hard, but it’s all about who is going to perform the best.”
Even though thousands of spectators will be watching and judging, Carter said that the way to build confidence is practicing until the routine it is perfect.
“When it's time to hit the mat and all other thoughts of nervousness come to mind, the routine and how to perform it is already ingrained in muscle memory because of all of the practice we have done,” said Carter.
The two qualifying groups will compete at nationals on January 17, 2014.
--- KENDRA STOWE, NC State Athletics Communications