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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Cheer & Dance takes third at nationals

Photo by Chris Denver
Freshman Rebecca Merchiore dancing at basketball halftime show.

Cheer and Dance traveled to Daytona, Florida to compete at the national tournament this past weekend. The Pioneers placed big in the event, bringing home a trophy for Pioneer Athletics.

The first day for the Pioneers was the preliminaries. The preliminaries were the competition that set the team’s standard, determining where the Pioneers would be for the second day.

The dance team competed two different routines in Daytona: a pom routine and a jazz routine. Pom is a style of group dance where the performers dance while holding pom-poms. Jazz is a high-energy style without the use of pom-poms.

The pom routine was guaranteed a spot in the finals regardless of their preliminary score. This was due to the low number of opposing pom teams in their category. NAIA-level pom was its own category. The Pioneers scored 83.7 points in the preliminary round. 

In the preliminaries for pom, Ottawa University Arizona placed first with a score of 85. 

Vanguard University placed second in the preliminaries at 86.4, just barely surpassing the Pioneers’ preliminary score. 

Their jazz routine needed to outscore several other teams in the preliminary round in order to make finals, and they did so. This led to the second day of the event, the final competition.

The Pioneers qualified in jazz with a preliminary score of 83.3, good enough for the third-best score in the prelims. St. Thomas University had the best preliminary score with an 86.3 score. Central Methodist University had the second-best score at 84.5.

On the second day, the dance team performed both their pom and jazz routines. Both routines placed third overall in finals.

The top two pom teams switched their placing in the finals when compared to their preliminary scores. Vanguard University took home first with a score of 86.7 in the pom category. Ottawa University Arizona got a score of 86.4, barely coming in second. The Pioneers scored 85.1 points, good enough to bring home a respectable third-place trophy. 

During finals, the jazz routine improved to earn a score of 83.7 for third place overall, while the top two preliminary scorers kept their respective placings. 

The dancers mentioned how difficult the preparation was, both mentally and physically, when discussing their thoughts.

“The preparation was pretty brutal. We had a lot of long and intense practices leading up to just hours before competing. In terms of mindset, just having a positive attitude and constantly thinking about the routines and details,” Kaiya Russell, a sophomore journalism major and dance team member, said.

“We trained around three, sometimes five days a week. We rarely had breaks but it was fun. We brought in two outside coaches, but only one of them was used in the comp,” said Robert Fornataro, freshman broadcast, multimedia major, and dance team member.

The competition was not easy for the team, as they definitely knew going into it.

“Dance competitions are really complicated, it’s not quite so black and white as just winning and losing, but it was definitely rewarding to have all the hard work pay off like that. Plus, it gave us a lot of motivation to do even better next year,” Russell said.

The dancers reflect on their final year dancing in the NAIA.

“I think the season went really well, with next year us going up to D2, we knew this was like our last chance at victory and we got it in every category so I am very happy with how this season ended,” Fornataro said.

The season is over for cheer and dance, but both teams left with something to be happy about. Both teams placed third in their categories, giving Point Park Athletics another trophy.

The Pioneers cheer and dance team will not be competing under Point Park Athletics in the fall, but will still be competing represented by Student Affairs.

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