Wake Forest Cheerleading and Dance Team - Blog #4

April 13, 2008

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Wake Forest Cheerleading and Dance Teams competed at the NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship April 9-13 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Demon Deacon seniors Drew Jack and Laura Waggoner filed periodic blog updates from Daytona.

For more information on the event, visit Varsity.com.

Blog #4 - Friday, April 11

Today started off with the same wake-up call, warm-up and performance time. The order of competition went from 16th place to first place, so we competed towards the end of the division. It was nice to see the other competitors that we weren't able to see yesterday as well as the teams we needed to beat.

Our actual performance went really well. There were a few bobbles on stunts that went better yesterday, but overall, we hit a solid routine. At yesterday's practice, we had to change the end of our routine in order to appease some of the judge's comments, and I think that both the crowd and judges liked those changes.

We ended up receiving sixth place out of the 16 competing teams in our division. I was very pleased not to have dropped in the rankings from the preliminary competition. Our overall score even increased! This year's team is the first team in Wake Forest history to place in the top 10 at a national competition, so I was extremely excited and proud of our hard work.

The rest of the day was spent watching other cheerleading teams compete and hanging out on the beach! We'll head back to Winston on Sunday morning with a new trophy to add to all of Wake Forest's athletic achievements!

- Drew Jack, Senior, Wake Forest Cheerleading Team

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Blog #3 - Thursday, April 10

Today started pretty early with a wake-up call around 6:30 a.m. We left for the competition at 7:30 and spent about 30 minutes stretching and getting mentally prepared for warm-ups. At 8:15, we had a 30 minute warm-up before competing at 9:15. The warm-up was somewhat shaky, and I think we were all a bit nervous, but I was confident that we would all pull together for our performance in front of the crowd and judges.

The actual performance was a blur because I had so much adrenaline, but listening to the cheers from the crowd (even Carolina's dance team came to support!) made me feel good about our routine. Once we watched the video of the performance, we saw that there were a few bobbles and a missed stunt. In the end, however, we ended up in sixth place out of the 16 competing teams. We're less than a point away from the team in first, so I definitely think that we can move up in our rankings tomorrow.

We have practice later tonight and we're planning to change part of our routine and fix some tiny things that the judges pointed out. Since we're comfortable with performing in front of judges, I'm excited to compete tomorrow and I hope to bring good news about our final ranking!

- Drew Jack, Senior, Wake Forest Cheerleading Team

On Thursday we started our day by watching the Cheer Team compete in the Intermediate Coed division. We were so proud of them - they did so well!!

Their performance also provided the Dance Team with energy and excitement, pumping us up to compete a few hours later. After we were ready in our costumes and full make-up, we headed towards the competition. We spent an hour stretching and then were given 15 minutes to warm up in a large ballroom. We felt great about our dance and were ready to introduce the Wake Forest Dance Team to the National Dance Association. We felt confident and excited before we went on. Overall, our performance was strong and we qualified for the Challenge Cup competition later that afternoon. When we performed in the Challenge Cup, we did extremely well. Our performance was definitely our best - the whole team felt happy about the dance. We competed in the Challenge Cup against a few other ACC schools, including Virginia Tech and Clemson.

I am so proud of our team. We worked so hard and came so far. Our dance was phenomenal, and we grew close in the process. We placed 11th in the Challenge Cup, and we are proud of our performance. I am sad that yesterday was my last performance as a member of the Wake Forest Dance Team, but I know this team will only continue to get better each year. The women that will be leading this team next year have great ideas and amazing talent. I am looking forward to returning to Wake Forest and watching them perform. I pray that they have another opportunity to compete and continue to represent Wake Forest University as one of the top 20 teams in the nation.

- Laura Waggoner, Senior, Wake Forest Dance Team

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Blog #2 - Wednesday, April 9

The team arrived in Daytona on Wednesday morning around 9:30 a.m. after a long bus ride from Winston-Salem. Personally, I didn't get too much sleep, but being here in the warm weather really cheered everyone up! After breakfast and finalizing registration at the NCA competition, the cheerleaders went to the hotel. Luckily, our hotel is right on the beach! Because we're cheerleaders, we went straight to the beach and took pictures doing different stunts on the beach for a crowd of passer-bys. Soon enough, however, it was time for practice.

We only had a warm-up mat for 15 minutes this afternoon, but we definitely made the most of it and had a great practice! We ran through our routine and focused on some of our problem areas, but things went really well and I feel very confident about Thursday morning.

Tonight is going to be an early night -- we compete at 9:15 a.m. in the morning, but we're leaving for the competition at 7:30 a.m. Once we get back, I'll be sure to update everyone on our performance. If you can, check out the "Varsity Wired" section of Varsity.com and look footage of our routine minutes after we compete. Thanks for reading!

- Drew Jack, Senior, Wake Forest Cheerleading Team

Today we woke up to the bright sun of Daytona Beach, Florida, after driving through the night from Winston-Salem. After we had breakfast, checked in with the National Dance Association, checked into our hotel and spent a few hours on final costume details, we continued to prepare for the competition by practicing our routine. The routine felt really strong today. We are extremely excited about our chance to compete on Thursday. It is nerve racking knowing that the competition is right around the corner, but I have confidence that we will do well! Carly and Kaylan, our coaches, are feeling confident about our routine. Many other dance teams, who were practicing nearby, seemed interested and impressed by our team's skills and strengths, particularly our use of pom poms in the final section of the routine. We ended the day with a team dinner, enjoying each other's company and realizing that tomorrow we will finally show how hard we've been working over the past few months.

- Laura Waggoner, Senior, Wake Forest Dance Team

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Blog #1, Tuesday, April 8

Typically, the end of March Madness marks the end of the athletic year for most collegiate cheerleaders. However, March Madness is in full swing for teams competing in the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) competition, which is essentially the equivalent to the NCAA basketball tournament. After months of preparation and practice, in addition to regularly scheduled football, basketball, and community appearances, the Wake Forest cheerleading team is headed to Daytona Beach, Florida to compete against 18 other teams at the NCA competition.

As a senior captain and someone who has watched the cheerleading program grow over the past four years, I feel that we are very capable of competing at the national level. At a recent dress rehearsal for our competition routine, cheers from fellow student-athletes, friends, family and members of the Winston-Salem community excited our team and gave us a boost of confidence for our performance on Thursday morning.

Stay tuned for further updates from Florida - Go Deacs!

- Drew Jack, Senior, Wake Forest Cheerleading Team

After much anticipation, the time has finally arrived for us to head down to Daytona. We, along with cheer, have been working so hard over the past few months preparing for this event. We had our last official practice at Wake Forest on Tuesday, before boarding the bus at midnight to leave for our national competition.

I'm feeling more confident after our performance and dress rehearsal earlier this weekend. Our energy was high on Sunday night, as our peers and many others gathered in Reynolds Gymnasium to watch our routine. Though we did well that evening, there is still work to be done. Tuesday's practice focused on cleaning up little details - it's extremely difficult to take fourteen individual dancers with various distinct backgrounds and styles of dance and make each girl look uniform.

This dance team has come so far; the talent has gotten exceedingly better over my past four years on the team, and with the talent and skills my teammates bring to the table this year, I know we stand a good chance of making finals. I cannot wait to get on the stage with these girls and show the other competitors in division IA what Wake Forest University has to offer. We are a talented team and have grown so close over the past few months, though it's hard not to feel nervous and anxious. Once we arrive in Daytona, it'll be our time to shine!!

- Laura Waggoner, Senior, Wake Forest Dance Team

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