MBU Cheerleaders and Dancers Wrapping up Excellent Seasons
The two squads have placed well at various regional and national competitions, and they have entertained crowds at MBU Spartan games.
By: JERICA DRAGO
This spring as students settled into the semester, the MBU Spirit Program was feeling anything but settled.
“The pressure is good,” sophomore dancer Bethany Warren said. “We have met some great girls who could be teammates in the last few months, but scheduling has been tricky lately for practices.”
Three new dancers have already committed for the 2014-15 school year, and on Tuesday, Feb. 25, it was officially announced by the university athletic department that the MBU cheerleading squad qualified for the first NAIA National Competition, which was held recently in Oklahoma City.
So when fans turned out for back-to-back men’s and women’s basketball games at Missouri Baptist University recently, they didn’t know how much effort the cheerleaders and dancers had to put in to enjoy the joint performance.
The two teams dazzled in their traditional blue uniforms, while sharing the court during halftime for a full program performance in honor of Valentine’s Day.
“It was only our second performance as one program,” junior Audrey Krump, 20, said. “It was really important to us to get it right and to make people like it, plus fans don’t get how much work it is to get 20 people together at once during a school day.”
The routine, which consisted of several love songs including, “Do You Love Me,” by The Contours, and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing),” by Michael Jackson, was a struggle to get together in the days leading up to the performance, as Krump mentioned.
“It was pretty difficult because everyone’s schedules are just so different. There are five dancers and even they weren’t always available to work on it at the same time,” Krump said.
The MBU cheerleading squad also competed at a regional qualifier with a top 15 finish required to get them a bid to the first NAIA Cheer & Dance National Championship.
The All-Girl squad made up of 12 female members took third overall at the competition. The cheerleading squad also represented MBU at a regional competition.
Although the team danced in the competition, due to eligibility rules, the dancers will not have enough team members to compete at the regional level or beyond this season. However, their performance that night was commendable.
“Although we aren’t officially competing this year, our exhibition … was a great experience to build on for next year when we hope to have the numbers to put together a competition routine fit for nationals,” head dance coach Joy Brueggeman said.
The dance team took a solid second place to Lindenwood University-Belleville, while the cheerleading team finished above the coed, or mixed-gender, Lynx cheer squad.
Coming off their top four finish last year following the National Cheerleading Association Cheer & Dance Collegiate Nationals, the cheerleaders looked sharp in their first preliminary competition. Flying past the LU Lynxs, the girls only saw a 1.5 deduction due to a fall during their pyramid sequence.
Although they did not finish too far behind the Lynxs, the MBU dance team struggled due to numbers.
Only three dancers were able to compete out of five because of family obligations, and also an injury, which kept two girls off the floor that night.
The team saw point deductions due to timing and spacing, but was praised on their showmanship.
Following the competition, the cheerleaders geared up for the next preliminary round, which was held at Missouri Valley College. Although the team took fourth that day, they hit nearly every stunt sequence in the routine.
When the regional qualifier was held, the girls geared up again, taking first in the All-Girl category, but fourth overall that day.
Meanwhile, the dance team continued to battle injuries and perfect halftime routines for patrons attending home basketball games.
The dancers gave their final performance on Tuesday, Feb. 27, during halftime of both the men’s and women’s final home games, both against Park University.
“The hip/hop routine was so good, the best of the year and everyone loved it,” said P.J. Brueggeman, a freshman lacrosse player.
Although the girls did not dance in a second preliminary competition, or at regionals, fans and faculty alike agreed that the team ended its season on a high note.
“The dancers bring more interest to the games,” Brueggeman said.
The dancers, now finished with their season, will continue to interact at different events on campus.
Cheerleading remains focused on its journey to nationals as the MBU cheerleaders are currently seeded ninth out of the 12 cheer teams who will be competing for a national title.
Regardless of the outcome at the NAIA nationals, the MBU all-girl team will see action once again this year at the 2014 National Cheerleading Association Cheer & Dance Collegiate Nationals, which is held in Daytona Beach, Fla., each April.