Golden Girls prepare for national cheer competition

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Members of the Golden Girls dance team practice the morning of March 30. The team qualified for nationals for the second year in a row. Photo by Tasha Cook

By Christopher Khan

The Golden Girls made it to finals at nationals in 2011; this year, they plan to do even better.

The college’s Golden Girls Dance Team, which cheers at home basketball games and campus events, qualified for the National Dance Alliance Collegiate National Championships for the second year in a row.

The competition takes place April 11-13 in Daytona, Fla. The group is in Division III, where they will compete against other community colleges and smaller universities.

“We just had that mindset that we were going no matter what,” said Amy Sellers, head dance coach for the Golden Girls.  “We were going to make it happen.”

Last year, the Golden Girls placed seventh out of seven in finals.

“[Last year] was my first year coaching here, and it was our first year [at Nationals] for all but one of us, and we made it to finals for the first time in [the college’s] history,” Sellers said. “So it was awesome, but this year I have seven returners, and our goal is to just do better.”

Madalyn Meeker, student, is one of those seven returning dancers out of the 12 on the team.

“We had never made it to finals before, but last year we did,” Meeker said. “I’m really looking forward to doing even better this year, because I think we surprised a lot of the other teams last year.”

Mary Graves, student, thought that the national competition last year was a great experience.

“It was amazing,” Graves said.  “Just performing on the beach was an amazing experience.  It’s right on the beach with stages – but the stage gets really, really hot.  There’s a lot more energy performing outside than in an arena.”

Sellers and choreographer Shannon Summers created the routine for 2012 in October with the theme ‘Warrior.

“[The dancers] have this warrior mentality now, and it’s what they fall back on when they have some rough days,” Sellers said. “It’s a little cheesy, but it keeps us motivated.”

According to Sellers, this motivation has been helpful.

“We have really tough competition as a couple of other teams consistently win every year,” Sellers said. “But our team is really strong, and I feel confident that we can do very well. Our goal is to do better, and I have all faith that we can do that.

The work that goes into preparing the Golden Girls for nationals is immense. Since they learned the routine six months ago, the team has been practicing the routine whenever they can – usually for two hours a day after the end of basketball season.

“Just seeing the girls work hard every day, and then work harder than the day before [gives me confidence],” Sellers said. “The dance is only two minutes and 11 seconds long, but when you’re out there doing it, it feels like it’s a 15 minute long dance. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of endurance.

All in all, the Golden Girls say they are excited to be returning to nationals this year.

“I really hope we make finals again,” Graves said. “It’s just a different experience when you’re out there with your whole team competing for something so amazing. It’s way different than just practices and games. It’s a lot more intense.”

Contact Christopher Khan, special to the Ledger, at ckhan3@stumail.jccc.edu.

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