Work, sacrifice make up sideline cheers

March 10, 2012 12:55:07 PM PST
They're the team that no one comes to cheer for. Instead, they do all the cheering.

Cheerleaders are courtside for every home game in college hoops, but once March Madness rolls around, they hit the road with the team. Well, sort of.

"People would be surprised to know that we have to take a bus from Raleigh instead of flying with the team," said N.C. State cheerleader Alex Brown.

And once they make it to Atlanta, the Wolfpack cheerleaders stay in a different hotel than the basketball team.

"We're actually about 20 minutes away from the arena," said N.C. State cheerleader Taylor Whitsett.

This year the ACC Tournament falls right in the middle of the team's spring break. Instead of cruising to the Bahamas or laying out on a Florida beach, the team is in Atlanta to cheer on their guys. The atmosphere at the tournament makes it all worth it.

"Getting to be right in the middle of everything is the best part about coming down here," Whitsett said.

Their work doesn't stop once the 40 minutes of playing time are over.

"While we're here, we've been going out to eat and shopping, but we also go back and practice every day," N.C. State cheerleader Mary Mitchell said.

They're not practicing for the next game, but instead for their national competition held each year in April. It's their NCAA Tournament, if you will. They go head-to-head with the best cheerleaders in the country to see whose routines stack up to take home a national title.

And in years past the Wolfpack guys and girls have been pretty successful, bringing back several of their own championship trophies to Raleigh.

Maybe once March Madness is over, the men's basketball team will travel with the squad and cheer on the Pack at Nationals.

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