Kataen Shockley isn’t just the dancing queen of Warren County. She’s now recognized as one of the nation’s best too.
Shockley recently helped the Ole Miss Spirit program win the UDA National Title. It was a moment of a lifetime for the local dancer who has loved the biggest stages since was a young girl.
Being in first going into the finals had Shockley psyched, but it was nothing compared to when she heard University of Massachusetts announced in second place and knew the crown was hers.
“Everything in me burst with joy. My childhood dream of being national champion had come true,” said Shockley, a sophomore in Oxford. “I was literally crying and had no words. It’s one of the best moments of my life - it’s an unreal feeling that I don’t know if I’ll ever feel again.”
Holding off all challengers was the goal of Ole Miss after its first round of performances put the spirit squad atop the standings. Adjustments were made, sweat was poured out and Shockley finally got to experience what she’s worked a lifetime to achieve.
“Going into the finals in first was a dream come true in itself - I’ve never gone into finals in first. At that point, you have to work harder to stay in first,” said Shockley. “This has been my dream - not just dancing in college, but being a national champion in college. You’re competing against some of the best colleges - 204 colleges were represented at UDA national. Being able to say that I’m a national champion is so wild.”
Even a week after stepping off the stage as a champion in Orlando, Shockley was stunned about her accomplishment. While home for the weekend recently, the Pioneerette alumni was recognized at Charlie Dalton Gym and still hadn’t come to grips with being a champion.
“I was thinking, ‘Wow that’s me - I’m a national champion.’ I see my gold medal and think, ‘that’s mine.’ It’s a feeling like no other,” said Shockley.
The talented team will now put its efforts into performing at basketball games before a new roster is constructed this spring. After that, Shockley can go for a goal she may not have even dared to dream about as a kid.
By next January, Shockley could be a back-to-back national champ.