Monday, 23 September 2019 19:43

Coltrane named Wake Forest's 2019 homecoming queen; calls it a 'huge blessing'

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Richmond County native Mary Catherine Coltrane (right) with Wake Forest homecoming kind Coleman Greene. Richmond County native Mary Catherine Coltrane (right) with Wake Forest homecoming kind Coleman Greene. Contributed photo by Mary Catherine Coltrane.

WINSTON-SALEM — The most recent thing Mary Catherine Coltrane can add to her already impressive resume is the title of Wake Forest University’s homecoming queen.

The senior Demon Deacons cheerleader and 2016 Richmond Senior High School graduate heard her name announced in front of nearly 25,000 fans at BB&T Field during the halftime celebration on Saturday. 

Coltrane was joined by homecoming king Coleman Greene (Richmond, Va.), and the two were crowned by University president Nathan O. Hatch and his wife Julie.

“It was absolutely amazing,” Coltrane, a psychology and religion double major, said of the moment she realized she’d won. “This was a huge blessing and tremendous honor for me, and I was a little shocked and surprised.

“This is definitely one of the most major accomplishments in my lifetime,” she added. “It’s super rewarding to be a part of something bigger than yourself, all while supporting the University and cheering on the football team.”

Set to graduate this coming spring with a concentration in religion and public engagement, Coltrane is no stranger to the limelight during her time on the sidelines with the Deacons. Last month, she was selected by her coach Bryan Hall to represent Wake Forest at the launch of the ACC Network at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

That trip saw her and other cheerleaders and dance team members from all 16 Atlantic Coast Conference schools shoot segments for the Network’s premiere. There she met LaChina Robinson, an ESPN anchor and former Wake Forest basketball player.

“As a member of the Wake Forest cheer team, I am grateful for this opportunity,” Coltrane said. “Cheering at Wake Forest all four years has been the most incredible and rewarding experience. I am thankful to be part of a D1 ACC school whose academic rigor has prepared me for a well-rounded future.”

A four-year back spot and current senior leader on the team, Coltrane has been along for an historic ride the last three years with the Demon Deacs’ football program. Since her freshman season in 2016, Coltrane has cheered in three straight bowl games and Wake Forest has won all three, a school record.

The Deacs defeated Temple University 34-26 in the 2016 Military Bowl, outlasted Texas A&M University 55-52 in the 2017 Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., and earned another close win, 37-34, over The University of Memphis in the 2018 Birmingham Bowl.

Coltrane’s journey to homecoming queen began when she was nominated by a student body peer. She then applied and was selected to serve as one of six females on the homecoming court by the Student Union committee, which is comprised of both students and faculty.

A week of campaigning around campus before Wake Forest’s 49-7 win over Elon University on Saturday also saw the student body vote for king and queen on Sept. 18. The other female nominations this year were: Suzie Camp, Riani Carr, Taylor Fowlks, Katy Milian and Kaleigh Wingate.

Coltrane had to answer five questions questions on her homecoming court application, all dealing with her experience as a Demon Deacon student and student-athlete. One of the questions was “what does Wake Forest mean to you?”

“Wake Forest to me means opportunity,” Coltrane responded. “It has been everything I could have hoped for and more in a college experience. Wake Forest has allowed me the opportunity to experience community, relationship, education, knowledge, and most importantly, growth. 

“At Wake Forest, I have certainly experienced academic growth, but I have also learned more about myself as an individual. Wake Forest has been a place that has challenged me and stretched me to reach my full potential. I have been given an opportunity to explore my passions, learn more about them and participate in events that further enhance them.”  

During her tenure on the sidelines, Coltrane has led weekly team practices and has participated in over 55 football and basketball performances. She’s also organized and managed team participation in over 15 annual service activities in conjunction with local charities, all while “promoting a positive environment that has enhanced team building skills and collaborative group efforts.”

Coltrane has been a member of the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority since her freshman year, served as a campus ambassador and led weekly tours around campus to prospective students, and has been a servant team leader with Athletes in Action, a campus-based worship group.

Currently with a 3.485 GPA, Coltrane has decided she’ll attend law school following her undergraduate career at Wake Forest. She said she’s “started the application process” and will pursue a law degree that will allow her to “address social justice and make a positive change in the world.”

The Demon Deacons football team is off to a 4-0 start this season, and Coltrane hopes the hot beginning will continue throughout the season to make her final year as a cheerleader one for the books.

“To be able to stand alongside the players and support them is really a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s also great to rally the student body and the fans for the purpose of supporting Wake Forest (as a school) and winning whatever game we’re playing.

“This whole experience has been absolutely incredible,” she closed. “I’m so proud of the guys, and I think we can keep it up the rest of the season.”

Last modified on Monday, 23 September 2019 20:26

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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