SAU Buzz

SAU dance team takes home first place at nationals

by Lauren Crew
Posted on Mar 31, 2016

On March 11 and 12, the RiverCenter in Davenport was transformed into its own “Bring It On” movie. Twenty-four NAIA cheer and dance teams from across the country made the trek to the Quad Cities to compete for a national title.

Friday evening held the preliminary round of the competition. These performances accounted for 25% of a team’s overall score and ranked the team for finals the next day. By the end of the night Ambrose dance team was placed first going into finals, while cheer was in fourth.

Day two of Nationals started bright and early for the athletes, with the first team competing in dance starting warm-ups at 9:30a.m. The bleachers on either front corner of the mat were full of parents, friends and supporting teams awaiting their desired athletes. All teams were allowed only 18 minutes to warm-up, two minutes short of what a basketball team is offered. Warm-ups include stretching, turns for dance and tumbling for cheer, and six minutes on a full practice floor before hitting the actual competition floor.

The SAU dance team hit the floor with a boom, as the entire team assisted by the SAU cheerleaders were screaming “S-A-U.” It only took two minutes for the dance team to max out almost all of the 12 categories on their score sheet. The scores of the judges in jazz technique, pom technique, hip hop technique, technical skills, execution, staging transitions, degree of difficulty, uniformity, choreography, team turns, turn sequence and leaps, left SAU’s dance team with an overall score of 112.56.

When it came time for SAU’s cheer team, the noise level was just the same. Screams of “S-A-U” and “Let’s go” echoed throughout the room creating an indescribable energy amongst the crowd. During their performances the cheerleaders executed all of their tumbling and stunts with only minor mistakes or bobbles. The 14 people on the mat pulled together from mistakes the previous day and ended with a score of 91.07. At the end of the performance the team was crying and hugging one another. Head coach Felicia Miles stood amongst her well-trained athletes with a look pride.

“When you go out on the floor and you do everything you're supposed to, that's a winner.” Miles said. “It doesn’t matter where you place, when you give it your all, that's what we work for everyday in practice.”

After Oklahoma City University, the first place seed going into finals, performed, cheer mats were rolled up and trophies were brought out. At the back of the room sat six trophies confirming whether all the work these teams put forth this year was worth it. The teams sat indian-style in circle hand in hand as the scores were announced from last to first.

The dance teams were announced first. Anticipation grew amongst the Ambrose circle as SAU was not being called. It finally came to the top three and the dancers looked anxious. When Midland University was announced at second place, SAU dance burst with tears and cries of joy.

“I have no words.” Dance Coach, Danelle Langeneckert said. “It’s just incredible.”

Although they had won a national championship and had every reason to celebrate, as soon as the scores for cheer started being announced, dance sat back down in the SAU circle and joined hands with the cheer team.

After a long day of nearly perfect routines, Ambrose cheer placed fourth, just 2.74 points behind first place.

“We now know what we have time to get better before we compete in NCA nationals in a couple weeks,” Miles said.