It was one of those moments that come once in a lifetime and are gone before you know it but will always be remembered.
And Rosewood’s Katelyn Merritt will always remember signing a national letter of intent with N.C. State University.
“It was kind of surreal because I’ve been waiting to be a cheerleader for N.C. State since I was a little girl,” Merrit said about joining the Wolfpack. “I used to have the little uniform and pom-poms, too.”
Her father graduated from N.C. State, while her brother currently attends N.C. State, so it made sense for Merritt to attend N.C. State, but Merritt did admit that some other schools were on her radar.
“My cousin, she goes to UNCW, and when I visited, I really liked the fact that I was close to the beach,” Merritt said. “I was thinking about it, but I really wanted to cheer.
“And maybe being close to the beach, I wouldn’t go as much.”
Merritt attended an N.C. State cheer clinic and submitted a video of her cheering. She then went to an open practice with the N.C. State cheerleading team, and a week after the open practice, Merritt was informed there was a spot on the team for her.
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When Merritt was four years old, she started cheering at a local gym, but the gym shut down, so Merritt spent the last five years cheering with Cheer Extreme in Raleigh.
She never joined the Rosewood High School cheerleading team because competitive cheerleading took up too much of her time.
“I recently retired from competitive cheerleading,” Merritt said. “Competitive cheer is a year-round thing, we go places, so I wouldn’t have been able to go to school practices.”
Even though Merritt could not join the Rosewood cheerleading team, she did join the Rosewood cross country and track teams. During the spring, she and her teammates placed fifth in the state in the 4x200 relay.
An all-conference and all-region runner, Merritt said running helped her with endurance and conditioning for cheerleading.
“Cheer practice wasn’t as hard for me because I was used to running all the time,” Merritt said.
The N.C. State cheerleading team has won seven national titles, two group stunt national titles, and three Atlantic Coast Conference titles.