As the inaugural football season is just around the corner, the spirit team will be on the sidelines demonstrating athletic dance moves and displaying support and enthusiasm.
By: HANNAH BALLARD
Sparkles, turns and leaps are just a little of what makes the newest part of the spirit program at Missouri Baptist University unique.
With football quickly approaching in the fall, the spirit program added dance to create more of a school-spirited atmosphere around campus and games.
Jessica Johnson, head coach of the spirit squad, said when the university first began discussing a football program, she brought the idea of a dance team to Dr. Tom Smith, athletics director.
“Since football would add a larger male population to the university, they wanted to make sure there were enough women’s sports to make it equal,” Johnson said. “We made the official announcement last March 2013 and immediately had a great response.”
Members of the MBU community should expect the spirit program to continue to grow and enhance school spirit at MBU.
“Our primary goal for the spirit program is to first and foremost support Spartan athletics at MBU, enhance game excitement and encourage crowd involvement,” Johnson said. “Our secondary goal is to compete at NAIA and national level and to become a well-known program that is known for consistent and clean performances that are fun to watch.”
Currently the dance team is made up of five girls, Tori Boyer, Jerica Drago, Bethany Warren, Stacey Biermann and Elizabeth Harris, and performed this season at men and women’s basketball games.
“I thought it would be a wonderful experience joining a first-year dance program,” said Boyer, a freshman. Some of the dancers are enjoying being part of the first year of the dance team, making the future for the team more exciting.
“It’s exciting to be making history, being one of the first at the school to be a part of the dance team,” said Harris, a freshman. “Looking back at it will be incredible to say I was part of the beginning of the MBU dance team.”
The spirit program will continue to grow and add more members to the dance and cheer teams.
“I am looking for students who are well rounded. I want student-athletes who can handle a team and academic schedule that goes all year long while being fully committed to the program and the overall mission of the university,” Johnson said. “We have openings for both competition and game squad only, so we can offer the college cheering experience to anyone who meets the criteria no matter what skill level they are currently at.”
One thing that make the MBU spirit program unique is that Johnson and the other squad members are willing to work with all skill levels.
“This is much different than other universities because each student will be fully engaged and not just sitting on the sidelines,” Johnson said.
Next year will hold even more excitement for the MBU spirit program as football games start. Students, faculty and staff members will be able to find the spirit program leading cheers and entertaining the crowd during the football games. And it all begins in less than six months.