For the first time ever, the Doane Dance team qualified for nationals based on scores on Feb. 24, Head Dance and Cheer Coach Ashley Lyon said.
Nationals will be held in Davenport, Iowa by St. Ambrose University, March 8-9, according to the Doane Athletics website.
“Before the National Qualifier, all teams must compete in 4 regular season competitions and also the GPAC Conference Competition,” Lyon said. “Those regular season average scores account for 40% of the "Year End Score." Then 60% comes from the final score at the Qualifier (25% prelims and 75% final round) of the "Year End Score." From that average, teams are ranked and (not including the top 4 winners from each region who automatically get a bid to nationals) they take the next top 8 teams.”
Junior Elizabeth (Nell) Piper said it feels incredible to qualify for nationals.
“It feels incredible (to qualify for nationals) because we had this goal from the beginning of the year and to see all of our hard work pay off is amazing,” Piper said. “We also made school history with qualifying for nationals for the first time so that’s neat as well.”
Lyon said it has been a goal of the teams’ to make it to nationals after missing it by a fraction last year.
Lyon said the teams’ strengths are hard work, willingness to take feedback, supporting each other and being family oriented.
Piper said the dance team has worked extremely hard this year.
“After every competition we would review the feedback the judges gave us on our score sheets and make new goals for the next competition we were attending,” Piper said. We were constantly changing parts of our dance in order to make it better and score more points so our dance has been a constant work in progress.”
Lyon said the teams’ routine for nationals will remain the same as it has been all season with a few variations here and there based on the judges feedback.
“We mainly want to make sure we have a well executed and clean routine to get the highest execution scores we can,” Lyon said.
This is not the only accomplishment the team has achieved this year. Lyon said she is proud of everything the team has accomplished this season:
1st at every competition prior to Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC)
3rd at the GPAC
3rd at National Qualifiers (so close to 2nd place only missed it by 0.17.
“This is the best the dance team has done in school history since becoming a competitive sport,” Lyon said. “This is the exact vision I had for the program 4 years ago when I took over as Head Coach and little by little it's working and I am so grateful to be in charge of such a great group of athletes.”
There will be a final send off performance for the team on Wednesday, March 6th at 7 p.m. in Haddix. “We would love to see everyone come out and support us before we head off to nationals,” Lyon said.