04/11/12 — EWHS grad to compete in national cheering contest

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EWHS grad to compete in national cheering contest

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 11, 2012 1:46 PM

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Chance Carter

Chance Carter is unmistakably passionate about cheerleading.

"Some people listen to songs in the car, I listen to cheerleading songs," he said. "I cheer in the morning when I'm getting ready. I pretty much eat, sleep and breathe cheerleading, and I love every second of it."

The 2011 Eastern Wayne High School graduate, 19, is now a freshman at East Carolina University, where he is a member of the cheerleading squad. He was chosen to be part of a group headed to Daytona Beach, Fla., today to compete in the national Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships.

Carter started out taking dance lessons in fifth grade. As he prepared to enter high school, he decided to audition for the North Carolina School of the Arts.

In the meanwhile, he also tried out for the Eastern Wayne cheerleading squad. Two weeks after making the varsity cheerleading squad, he received word that he had been accepted at the School of the Arts.

Carter chose to stay at Eastern Wayne and said he has never looked back.

"Eastern Wayne won county the year I was on it," he said. "Then my sophomore year, I decided to try competitive."

Throughout high school, he juggled cheering and doing it competitively, before opting to focus solely on the competitive aspect his senior year.

"I tried out for Cheer Extreme All-Stars in Greenville in May of 2010 and was put on their Level 5, the highest level for competitive cheerleading, of 36 people and competed with them senior year," he said. "In January 2011 Cheer Extreme decided to make a small co-ed team of 20 people. I competed at the 2011 cheerleading worlds and ranked within the top 30 out of over 90 teams in the small co-ed division."

In May, he auditioned for the co-ed squad at ECU and was one of 45 chosen.

He says he spends three hours a day three days a week in practice, runs 2.5 miles before every practice and lifts weights two days a week.

His exuberance for the Pirates is evident -- he even sports a tuft of purple bangs.

"All the pain, sweat, tears, hours of practice, when I set my foot on the mat, everything else fades. I'm at my happiest."

In November, the college decided to form a co-ed squad to participate in this year's national collegiate cheerleading competition. Only 20 would be chosen, 16 girls and four boys.

"I'm the only freshman guy out of the four chosen," Carter said, adding proudly, "and the only one from Wayne County."

ECU has participated in contests before but this will be the first time a co-ed squad goes to college nationals.

Carter and his teammates left early this morning for the two-day NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships, which begin Thursday. ECU's dance team is also competing in the dance division.

Seventy-five entrants from across the country will attend the cheer competition, 10 of those competing in the small co-ed division, Carter said. Six of the 10 will make it through to second-day finals.

"This is like a cheerleader's dream," he said. "This is our first year going. There are people that have been going for 20 years.

"We have what it takes. Basically, we're the underdog but we're not stopping."

The competition will be televised on CBS Sports Network April 29 and May 6 at noon.