Dance places second, third in competition

Story by Nathalia Barr, Managing Editor

At the HAAC conference competition, held on Saturday, the dance team took second place in small dance and third place in hip-hop. The cheer team competed as well, but the Spirit Squad combined to win fifth.

Together the Baker dance and cheer teams make up the Spirit Squad. Not only do they perform on the sidelines and at halftime of sporting events, but they also prepare routines for competitions. In the HAAC competition, the two teams compete and their combined scores determine the winner of the competition.

The dance team, under the direction of dance coach Lynsey Payne, has two routines this year – a hip-hop and a team routine. The hip-hop routine is more for entertainment and fun while the team routine is NAIA competition style, which includes requirements of specific counts of dance styles such as pom, jazz, hip-hop and kick.

“The routines are just so fun to watch, and we can’t wait to perform them,” Payne said.

The dance team received third place at the NAIA National Invitational last year. This year, the team hopes to attend the NAIA National competition again in April. The dance team will also attend the National Dance Association National competition in Daytona Beach, Florida, which is also in April.

“I’m excited to see how we compare with our competition,” Payne said, “Our team is very technical and we have a high caliber of skill.”

Senior Amanda Seeley and junior Callie Brabender are the team’s captains. Seeley, junior Erika Mallery and sophomore Kaitlyn Stout are returning NAIA All-American dancers, but the team hopes to have more dancers with that title this season after the All-American tryout during the regional qualifier later this month.

The cheer team, under the direction on Allyssa King, also competes in addition to cheering on the sidelines for Baker sports.

“We didn’t do as well as we hoped,” co-captain junior Victoria Paul said about the team’s performance Saturday. “But our team has overcome so much in the past few weeks and I’m really proud of the way we pulled together as a team.”

The cheer team will also go on to the regional qualifier on Feb. 27 in hopes to receive an invitation to the NAIA National competition. After qualifying through a video bid, the cheer team will also attend the National Cheer Association National competition in Daytona Beach, Florida in April. The competition season highlights the strengths of the team.

“We have done a really good job encouraging each other,” co-captain junior Michelle Critchfield said, “especially during the stunt and pyramid section.”

The team goal, reiterated by captains Paul and Critchfield, is to perform a clean routine each time they compete.

“I think we are in a great place to do well in upcoming competitions,” Critchfield said.