For the first time in Bobcat history, the Ohio University Dance Team traveled to Orlando, Florida to compete at the 2019 UCA and UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships.
The team competed in both the D1A Dance division and the University World Cup Championships, receiving a superior rating on day one and the third highest overall score on day two. They were ultimately awarded the title of 2019 University World Cup Open Division Champions.
“Claiming a title is an amazing accomplishment for the Ohio University Dance Team” said Dr. Andrew Pueschel, director of the OHIO Dance Team. “Our goal was to place Athens, Ohio ‘on the map’ for collegiate dance teams, and not only did this year’s team participate for the first time, they achieved recognition that will absolutely shine the spotlight on future dancing Bobcats for years to come.”
Pueschel said that he could not have been more thrilled with the results of the weekend’s events, stating that within an hour of winning their title, the OHIO Dance Team started to receive requests for information via social media on next year’s team auditions. They also received offers for the performers to travel to area schools to assist in local dance camps. Most recently, the Dance Team was even voted Top Five in the “Best of Athens” student organization category.
“We could not be more proud of the dedication displayed by each of these students and the national success that it has brought them,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “Furthermore, their commitment to maintaining academic excellence while working tirelessly to bring home a national championship is a testament to their individual character.”
Aside from the sheer talent of the team, a lot went into maximizing the productivity to accomplish their goal of a national title. The team members practiced at least five days a week throughout the Fall and Spring semester leading up to the competition, sacrificing their winter break to perfect their routine. They also raised 100 percent of their own funds and collectively maintained a 3.5 GPA – all while dedicating a majority of their time to the team.
Knowing that so much more than talent and life balance goes into the making of a successful dance program, Jenna Knisley, the team’s captain and a senior engineering student, explained the challenges associated with a student organization representing OHIO as well as competing on a global scale.
“We raised 100 percent of our funds needed which included choreography, costumes, travel, registration, hotel and food” said Knisley when asked about competitive fees. “Of course, this is also in addition to the costs that the team is responsible for during the year which includes clothing and materials needed to dance at football games, basketball games and other OHIO events.”
Knisley was the key motivator behind the team’s journey to Nationals. With an impressive previous background in dance performance, she realized that the talent of this year’s team would be one for the history books and make achieving a national title possible.
The OHIO students who performed at the 2019 UCA and UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships included; Allie Beres, Taylor Breen, Jenna Crass, Savannah DeAnthony, Kaylea Ellis, Aimee Gjurkovitsch, Hannah Hiltz, Megan Hinkle, Jenna Knisley, Morgan Korn, Kelsey Majiros, Rachael Roenfeldt, Sierra Sasse, Haley Trevino, Kate Vaughn and Macie Westrick.
For more information on the Ohio University Dance Team, please go to: http://bobcats-danceteam.wixsite.com/ohiouniversity-dance.