Cheering for champions

RALEIGH — N.C. State’s cheerleading team is one of the Wolfpack’s most decorated teams measured by championships. However, 2018 marked a first as the Wolfpack captured two national titles in the same year with wins last week at the Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona Beach. With wins in both the Small Coed Division 1A division and the new Game Day Division, N.C. State claimed its sixth and seventh titles adding two new trophies beside previous titles in 1986, 1990, 1991, 2001 and 2016.

The Wolfpack’s win in the Game Day Division marked the debut of a new category that the National Cheerleading Association says provide an opportunity for school Spirit Programs to work together to showcase their ability to promote school spirit. This division not only allows the use of traditional sideline cheerleaders, but also members of a school’s dance team, band and mascots.

Wolfpack head coach Harold Trammel, who has coached the Wolfpack for 15 years and for a championship in 2016, said his team saw the new category as both a challenge and an opportunity. “We were excited when they named the division,” said Trammel. “There were some general guidelines. We wanted to create a standard by which this division would be judged going forward. We had an idea of what fans and judges wanted and fortunately we were correct,” he said.

Trammel is a steady hand for the State team having served as an assistant coach from 2000 to 2002 before becoming head coach. He was also a member of the team from 1995 to 2000.

“Our responsibilities to the university are to support our sports teams and to give them a home field advantage,” said Trammel, adding, “we take that responsibility seriously. This routine allowed us to show the passion we have for cheering on our teams from the sideline.”

The overall Game Day competition consisted of three one-minute elements, crowd leading, band chant, and fight song. For the Wolfpack, Trammel selected a familiar song — Red & White — for his team’s band cheer along with a traditional chant spelling out N-C-S-U. The fight song incorporated the school’s traditional fight song which is sung to the sped-up tune of the U.S. Army’s fight song — “The Army Goes Rolling Along.”

“I think it is neat. It’s three minutes of time, uninterrupted,” said Trammel. “Even in the college game, it’s so commercialized. This brings it back to what games used to be like. Hopefully we can show off some of these skills more during games.”

The Game Day competition team for N.C. State included six members from the dance team — which also placed fourth in its division at the competition — three band members, one featured twirler, mascot Ms. Wuf and 19 cheerleaders. “We wanted to have each group represented to get the full volume of what we incorporate into the gameday experience,” said Trammel.

Trammel says that he wants to continue the championship culture that exists at N.C. State. “We have fantastic assistant coaches that dedicate their time that allow us to do what is needed to prepare our athletes for games and competition,” he said. “We have strong captains and leaders that reinforce our goals. Success breeds success. We have great kids that have won championships and they want to continue winning championships.”

Trammel also credits the university for fostering a culture that has allowed his team to thrive. “This university is an easy sell to kids who want to cheer,” he said. “Our kids are not only successful in cheerleading, they are successful in the classroom. We know that most kids don’t make a career out of cheerleading … almost all of them are going to have a career in college doing something they learned at NC State.” Trammel practices what he preaches as he also works as a project manager for a medical device company in addition to his coaching duties. Neither he, nor his staff, are fulltime employees of the University.

“The University’s leadership is very appreciative of what we do. Not every school has this level of support for their cheerleading program,” said Trammel. “Coach Keatts came to the back of the plane when we were traveling to the NCAA tournament to thank us for what we do. Coach Doeren has attended our showcase and has made time to support us at our events.”

Now that the cheerleading season has culminated, Trammel’s team will now turn its attention to the Fall, when Carter-Finley Stadium will be brought to life by a Sun Bowl-winning Wolfpack football team and a national championship cheerleading team.