MYRTLE BEACH, SC – The North Carolina A&T State University Aggies cheerleading program is beginning its season with a blue and golden touch after they received a gold bid at the 2023 National Cheerleading Association (NCA) College Camp in Myrtle Beach, S.C., August 11-13.
The A&T cheerleading program, which consists of 31 cheerleaders – 26 females and five males – participated in the Large Coed – Intermediate Division, placing first in the rally routine and the game day/crowd segment. The next step to getting the gold bid was competing in a run-off against all the first-place teams in all divisions in an NCA cheer segment. The A&T cheerleading program defeated every college team that competed in the run-off, guaranteeing their gold bid, the highest level to compete at the NCA Nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla., coming in April. The Aggies missed winning the event last season by .0925 points.
On top of the Aggies showing each team what Aggies Do, seven of the cheerleaders became NCA Collegiate All-Americans, including Sari Barnes, Ni’Yarah Horton-Washington, Milani Kimble, Santana Baker, Iycess Hooper, Madisyn Burnette, and Katie Cantey. They all competed in the All-American segment at the camp and walked away with the accolades.
Alongside the seven All-Americans on the A&T cheer team, the Aggie Dog showed out and became an NCA All-American Mascot. A&T also snatched the NCA Spirit Award and the Spirit Stick when they showcased a routine to each college team about the true essence of Aggie Pride.
“It was a crazy weekend, but overall, it was great,” said North Carolina A&T head cheerleading coach Daniel Kearns-Pickett. “This year’s dynamic has been just a little different from the start. There’s more hunger because we received second place last year by .0925 points. I could tell they really wanted it. They feel like they have something to prove.”
The A&T cheerleading team and coaches celebrated their successful weekend. After a two-day break, they began preparing for the football season while enhancing their skill sets for competition.
“A lot of our focus is on our skills and tumbling, but also our cheers and dances that we have to prepare for games and homecoming. The skills that we work on for football games and at practice are preparing us for what we will do for our routine (at the NCA Nationals),” said Kearns-Pickett.
“Right now, we are getting prepared for the Aggie-Eagle classic. That’s like the next big thing for us. The goal is to get all 31 cheerleaders to perform at the first home game.”
The Aggie cheerleaders will make their season debut on Sept. 9 when the North Carolina A&T football team takes on archrival North Carolina Central University at 7 p.m. from Truist Stadium.