NC State alum Abby Lampe on a roll after second cheese rolling victory ::

NC State alum Abby Lampe on a roll after second cheese rolling victory ::

It’s been a banner year for NC State.

The university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams made the Final Four, the baseball team made the College World Series and Abby Lampe won the cheese rolling competition again.

“I’m widely known as the cheese girl now,” Lampe laughed. “I love NC State. I love the NC State community, so it’s been great to have them get recognized.”

Okay, so cheese rolling isn’t quite on the level as our national pastime, but Lampe has brought her own brand of innovation to Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake in Gloucester, England.

“I studied industrial systems engineering,” Lampe explained. “A lot of that deals with a lot of preparation and striving to do your best and understanding the things you can control.”

At the Cheese Rolling competition, control is not a hallmark. For those new to this phenomenon, once a year in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, there’s a men’s and women’s division where an eight-pound wheel of double Gloucester cheese is rolled down Cooper’s Hill. The cheese can catch speeds of up to 70 miles per hour down a 245-degree decline.  The first person to the bottom wins. 

Lampe discovered the competition on Youtube after she graduated two years ago from NC State.  She thought it looked fun, free and coincided with a trip she already had planned to Europe.

“I came to Dorothea Dix [Park]. I took my boss with me, actually,” Lampe remembered. “I rolled down hills to figure out what’s the best method to roll down a hill. I watched hours of film.”

Abby Lampe

Growing up Lampe played volleyball, basketball, soccer and did gymnastics, so she had the athleticism. Thanks to her research, engineering degree and lack of fear she discovered front rolls, side rolls and really just hurling yourself down the hill were the best strategies.

“My regard for my life is very little,” Lampe laughed. “I say live life while you’re young, you only have one just do it.”

In 2022, Lampe won going away. After missing the competition in 2023, she felt the urge to return and defend her crown.

“As the years progressed of people coming up to me and being like ‘you’re the cheese girl,’ I’m like ‘yeah,’ but every single time the distance from when I had won [kept] getting bigger, so I needed to update the recognition of the championship,” Lampe said.

NC woman is two-time cheese-rolling champ

Lampe said the burden of expectations made her more nervous this time around. After a test run the day before, Lampe employed her strategy to success again.

“This year I was bouncing a lot on the hill,” Lampe said. “I was getting a lot of air time and people came up to me after and were like ‘you got up 1.5 meters’, I was like ‘I felt like I bounced a lot.'”

Lampe is now two titles shy of tying the Cooper’s Hill women’s record and she hopes to compete again to chase it. She is still working through finishing her first wheel of cheese and is putting together a cheese tasting party at Dorothea Dix Park to celebrate her second.

“It’s very pungent,” Lampe said. “You have to have it with other things [like] jam, spread, fruit, crackers. Just stack it up.”