RALEIGH — Victoria Huggins is just as at home in front of the camera as Miss North Carolina as she was behind the camera as a producer for WECT in Wilmington. But last Saturday, Huggins took in a spectacle she had never witnessed before — a college football game. A graduate of UNC Pembroke, Huggins said she was “too busy with schoolwork, with a major and two minors” to attend any football games while an undergrad. She made the most of her first experience by taking in one of North Carolina’s longest and most heated rivalries joining the Wolfpack and Tar Heels on the field in Raleigh.
Huggins said she was given the “Wolfpack royal treatment” as she traveled around the sprawling tailgates surrounding Carter-Finley Stadium. From true tailgates that included parents and children enjoying Bojangles to elaborate feasts, Huggins was the star of the tailgate scene. Adults and children alike stopped her for photos, snapchats and autographs (she remembered to bring a red pen just for the occasion).
Inside the stadium, Huggins found herself in the presence of Wolfpack royalty including Chancellor Randy Woodson in his private box, C. Richard Vaughn, namesake of the Vaughn Towers, and Wendell H. Murphy Football Center namesake Wendell Murphy. While the teams on the field produced a few exciting moments in the first half, the excitement for fans and for Huggins came in the second half.
As the Pack and Heels took the field, Huggins was there to high-five State players. Huggins maintained a neutral enthusiasm for both teams even though her mother is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate. However, she was well aware of the home crowd and flashed the signature wolf hands on the stadium’s video board.
As the football action on the field heated up, Huggins experienced unique traditions from a field-level perspective that would make any State or Carolina fan envious. From petting the live mascot Tuffy II to leading the Wolfpack’s marching band, Huggins had a first-time football experience like no other. Mr. Wuf took her for a twirl in the student section, Ms. Wuf begged for a crowning moment with the famous crown, and Ramses even got a hug on the UNC sideline. As the Wolfpack finished off their rivals on the field, the cheerleaders invited Huggins to join in for the playing of the alma mater. Fortunately for Huggins, the video board displayed the words of the tune and Huggins played the part of victor on an unfamiliar stage in front of cameras she knows all too well.