Dance finishes sixth at nationals

Story by Levi Blaylock, Writer

The dance team competed in the second annual NAIA Competitive Cheer & Dance National Invitational March 14. The Wildcats traveled to Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, to perform along with 11 other NAIA schools in this national competition.

The women finished the competition in sixth-place. Despite not cracking the top five, the team was pleased with the performance, according to junior Callie Brabender.

“The top six teams were all capable of receiving first,” Brabender said. “Each team had its individual strengths and we each gave our best effort”

This was the second year in a row that the Baker dance team was invited to the national competition. Senior Amanda Seeley saw improvements in the Baker team and the sport as a whole.

“It was really exciting to get the chance to go to the NAIA national invitational again this year,” Seeley said. “It is still a new competition and is continuing to evolve so it’s exciting to be a part of it.”

Like Brabender, Seeley was not as affected by the actual results of the competition but was more proud of of the way her team performed.

“I was really happy with how our team performed and so were all the other girls,” Seeley said. “We had such great energy during our performances and during the entire competition, and I think it really showed.”

Unlike most sports, dance brings together all of the competing teams and urges them to cheer for each other, Brabender said.

“Each dance and cheer team went out of their way to yell for each other, tell each other good luck and good job.” Brabender said. “The spirit of the whole competition was very positive and uplifting, which is unique for the dance and cheer world.”

Looking forward, the Wildcats expect to continue their success at the national level next year.

“I have a feeling that our team is just going to continue to improve. We have always been a technically talented team in comparison to other NAIA schools, so we just hope that talent continues,” Brabender said. “We have four really talented dancers who have committed to joining our program so we are excited to see what they can add to or program.”

Seeley agreed with her teammate.

“Dance has come a long way and we are ready to prove that we are athletes and a talented team that can continue to do well at the national level,” Seeley said.