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Dancing to the top

By Bethany Cobbs
On February 19, 2015

Photo taken by Libby Bettin

Competition season is underway for the Braves cheerleading and dance teams. After a tryout and a team placement held in January, both groups began working on their routines for this season.

The teams are scheduled to compete in February at Kansas Wesleyan and in April at the National competition in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The Lady Braves dancers, defending national champions in the NAIA Small Team division, got right to work once the nationals’ team were announced.

Senior Taylor Jones said that the team is excited for their upcoming competitions. “I think we are just anxious to work on new material and push each other to do better things,” she said.

Jones believes that the team is being challenged with the material they were given this year but it is not anything they cannot conquer.

Besides, she said the team often brings ideas to the coaches that they want to try and start working on. “The collaboration is great because we all want the same thing and we are ready to do what it takes to get it,” she said.  

Although the Lady Braves brought Ottawa their first national championship they try not to let the fact that they are defending champions get to them.

Head Dance Coach Libby Bettin said they try not to think about it. Bettin explains that their situation makes it even more nerve racking.

Last year the Lady Braves lead their division from start to finish in first place. “Every other team is coming after your number one ranking and you’ve got to work even harder to hold on to the title of national champion,” Bettin said.

All the dancers, those on the nationals’ team and those who are not, are all very encouraging and loving toward one another.

The coaching staff is also extremely positive and encouraging of the team. “Both of these teams (cheer and dance) are highly motivated and at times have put a lot of pressure on themselves to be great,” Bettin said. “We’ve had to remind our athletes to breathe and remember to have fun while working hard.”

The talent of this year’s Lady Braves has led the coaches to have high expectations of them. “The girls also have high expectations of themselves,” Bettin said.

Not only has the talent of the program increased, but also that of the NAIA Small Dance team division. The Lady Braves have set their sights on giving the best performance they can at the national competition this spring.

The journey to Daytona Beach began last week for the Lady Braves in a dual with Baker University. Both teams performed energy-packed routines involving skills and tricks from jazz, pom, and hip-hop genres. The close competition ended in a tie between the two teams.

Next week both teams will travel to Kansas Wesleyan to take on other teams of the KCAC. Following that event, the Braves will begin making stride toward another national title in Daytona Beach, Fla.


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