The SVSU cheer and dance teams both traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida, for the 2018 National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Association College National Championships from April 5 to April 7.
This is the cheer team’s fourth appearance at Nationals and the dance team’s second consecutive appearance.
The cheer team scored a 89.72 in the preliminary round, their best score to date at Nationals. They finished in 10th place, .73 points short of making it to the finals. Not making the finals pushed the team to compete in the Challenge Cup, where they placed seventh among all competitors.
The dance team finished in fifth place in both D-II jazz and hip-hop competition.
“This is a great achievement for our team, because it takes hard work and great dedication from the entire team to obtain a bid to compete at Nationals,” cheer co-captain Kelsey Garner said. “Our team has been getting better results at Nationals each year we attend. We have put in a great amount of work to be successful and will continue to do so.”
The cheer team spent most of its season preparing for Nationals. Garner, a junior in the finance program, said practice includes attempting new stunts, tumbling, conditioning and sideline routines.
Dance team captain Chelsea Gillett also praised her team’s performance.
“This success has meant that all of our hard work during the year was absolutely worth it,” said Gillett, a senior in the management program. “Despite the difficulties and challenges that we had faced throughout the year, I have never seen our team work so closely together to reach the same goal. I witnessed our team come together as a family and support each other in ways that we dreamt of all season. Our goal was to make top five, and we did exactly that.”
Both teams did various fundraisers to make the trek down to Florida. The cheer team participated in selling pizza kits, candles, wreaths and other seasonal items, which netted $1,500.
The dance team made most of its money from an event called “20 for $20,” where each team member sent out 20 letters asking for $20 from a person or a business. The team also did clothing sales with the team’s name embroidered on the front.
“We couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out, and we are just so excited that we are starting to make SVSU and SVDT more known,” Gillett said. “One of our other goals was to make a good name for Saginaw Valley State University, and I think we did just that.”
Following two top-five finishes, the dance team will look to reload their roster, as they are hosting tryouts on April 21 at 9:30 a.m.