Baker University’s cheer and dance teams both headed down to Daytona Beach, Florida, to compete in the 2016 NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer & Dance Championship from April 7-9.
The cheer squad competed in the Ocean Center and placed fourth in the NAIA Small Coed Challenge Cup. The ‘Cats were just .25 points away from taking third from Concordia University Ann Arbor.
The dance team competed outside in the NDA Collegiate National Championship finals for NAIA small team performance and finished second overall.
Both teams’ time in Daytona was well spent between taking trips to the beach and practicing routines, but for the teams getting a spot in Daytona wasn’t easy. For the dance team, the National Dance Alliance holds summer camps where most teams compete for bids. The Baker dance team didn’t attend the summer camps, however, and instead sent a video showing their dance techniques and earned a bid that way.
Dance team captain Michaela Jamison sees strong technique on the team but knew faith was what needed work before heading to Daytona.
“I think something that we really had to work on was confidence within our own team, and I think it’s kind of funny that we had the hard stuff done, we had the hard stuff kind of figured out,” Jamison said. “So then kind of just getting our minds right that we could do this and that no matter who we’re competing against, we’re still really good.”
It was in similar fashion that the cheer squad got its bid for nationals. Senior co-captain Victoria Paul found qualifying and nationals an honor, being that it was her last year.
“It was definitely very meaningful, just because we do have to qualify in order to go, so in order for us to qualify we had to send in a video bid that met the qualifications,” Paul said. “So you had to send in certain stunting skills, certain tumbling skills, a game day routine and jumps.”
After stepping off the mat for the last time, Paul shared a moment with a fellow senior.
“We kind of like hugged and shed just a couple tears after, but it was good and we went out on a good note, and we hit all our stunts and everything,” Paul said.
Jamison believes the dance team’s motivation will be carried on to the next year with the desire to turn its second place finish into first place. With a small competing team of seven, Jamison hopes that new recruits will help propel the team to that first-place title.
“We are bringing in, formally, two commits so we’re at least bringing in two people,” Jamison said. “Hopefully we’ll get some more girls who are interested. I think we’ll be able to hopefully compete with more than seven.”