Howl takes top 10 finish
As he buttoned up his shiny, silver vest, A-State’s Howl took the floor for his third year in a row at the Universal Cheer Association Mascots Competition in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 18.
Just like years before, Howl competed against schools like Auburn, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
What made him so special is that he not only represented A-State, but the Sun Belt Conference as a whole.
In order to even compete in the national competition Howl had to submit a video showing off his unique experiences around campus and his crowd involvement at his university.
Only 10 of the 23 mascots were selected to compete in Orlando.
The main competition in Florida is a skit and each mascot is allowed to pick any theme they want for the competition.
“Howl’s theme this year was Howlywood,” spirit squad coordinator Paige Pauley said.
“Within the skit we had a lot of different stuff from Beverly Hills, the Kodak Theatre, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and at the end Howl won the Oscar. We really had a lot of fun with the Howlywood theme and received a lot of compliments on our music. ”
Howl’s skit received ninth place out of 23 overall and he earned third place in Fan Favorite.
“They added a social media mix to the competition this year,” Pauley said. “Fans had to send in their votes via Twitter, and that was really cool to see all of their support. Auburn’s “Aubie” and Minnesota’s “Goldie” won first and second. As a program, knowing that we can compete with those larger schools is really motivating.”
Howl wasn’t the only one traveling to Orlando this year.
The Red Wolves Dancers took their talents to nationals for the first time since the late ‘80s, early ‘90s era.
“Unfortunately, they didn’t make it to finals, but it’s a huge learning experience,” Pauley said.
“We have great leadership. It was just our first time getting our feet wet. We’ve seen our competition and know that we need more women out there on the floor. Most successful teams have at least 16 girls, so we’re definitely going to increase for next year.”
Pauley also explained that being recognized not just as the A-State team, but as a university was a great surprise.
“A-State’s motto is Red Wolves Rising. That’s a serious statement,” Pauley said.
“So many people that work with Varsity among other schools from the SEC, Big 10 and Pac 12 kept coming up to us saying ‘Y’all have something going on up there.’ It’s exciting. It’s a huge honor to know that people recognize that.”
Next year, Howl, cheer and dance will be competing in the 2015 UCA/UDA Nationals.
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