UF a cappella group No Southern Accent is climbing the scales of the competitive a cappella world.

On Saturday, NSA placed first at Varsity Vocal’s International Championship of Collegiate a cappella south quarterfinals, held at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Receiving a total of 428 points, NSA is now the highest-scored a cappella team in the U.S in 2014.

C.J. Wittus, NSA president and a 22-year-old UF sociology and criminology senior, said the group’s social media “blew up” after its performance, so he had a pretty good idea about how the group scored.

“First place has always been an FSU group,” Wittus said. “This is the first time any UF a cappella group has placed first at ICCA.”

The group will compete in the ICCA semifinals on March 15 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Although NSA will be the only team from UF, three Florida State University groups are scheduled to compete.

“All of the groups have a chance to work to improve their set, so it’s anyone’s game,” said Lindsay Howerton-Hastings, producer for the ICCA south quarterfinals.

She said the competition would be tough among the ten teams attending semifinals, but she said NSA fits the description of a great a cappella group.

“NSA has been growing in leadership and strong singers steadily over the past few years, and they killed it on Saturday,” she wrote in an email.

Alex Greene, NSA’s musical director, received an award for most outstanding vocal percussion at the competition. The 22-year-old UF material science engineering senior said he stood out because his microphone-holding technique creates harder beats.

At this point, he said, the group is pretty well-versed in its routine, so the majority of practices will be spent mastering its performances.

“There’s work to be done, but I don’t think the pressure is as heavy,” Greene said.

[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 2/21/2014 under the headline “UF a cappella group headed to national finals competition"]

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