Doane’s dance team hopes to build off of its National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Championship qualification last year.
According to Doane Athletics the Tigers are heading to their second NAIA national event in 2019 and will open their 2020 season with the Doane Invite at home in the Haddix Gym Friday, January 17. They won the same competition last year after posting a score of 79 to defeat Hastings, Concordia, and York.
Head Coach Ashley Lyon says that the off-season has been a great time to reflect on the team’s goals as well as prepare the mind and body for the competitive season. It also provides them a chance to work on more technical and advanced skills that could go into their routine at some point.
According to Lyons, in order to make it to consecutive national championship events, it will take talent, teamwork and culture.
“[It takes] continuing to grow the skills of current dancers and recruiting other talented dancers to come in and fill the spots from the seniors we lose each year,” says Lyons. “Teamwork includes sharing common goals and respecting each other. This teamwork and cohesion will help us perform at a higher level. And being deliberate as a coach about creating the culture and direction we want to go in.”
The team will be helped by three juniors who earned All-American honorable mentions their freshman year, captain Renee Lukowicz, Madison Eliker and Olivia Deford.
Senior Hannah Alfree enjoys having the three role models for the team. “They work really hard each day at practice and are willing to help other teammates who may not have the skills and backgrounds that they have,” says Alfree. “They always encourage and help me work hard for skills that I have never been able to do before.”
Alfree is excited for the season to begin and says the belief in the team’s goals is a strength for the team. “We work as a team towards our goals. We are dedicated and hold each other accountable to push towards our team goals," Alfree said.
The team will have five competitions before the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships on February 8. They will then look ahead to the NAIA Regional Qualifier a few weeks later.