Dance team aiding cheer squad

02/08/08

For two dance team members, Feb.16 will be a busy day.

Captain Erin Edwards and freshman Katie Sellers, along with assistant coach and fifth-year senior Susan Chandler, who will coach and cheer, will be on both the dance and cheerleading squads for the Heart of America Athletic Conference competitions held at Baker University Feb.16.

Captain Kate Hess said the decision to also cheer was on a voluntary basis. She added that this should not in any way affect the dance competition.

Edwards, Sellers and Chandler volunteered to take on the extra cheering responsibility. Sellers and Chandler have prior cheerleading experience, and head coach Cathy Ritter said the dancers are looking good.

"It is nice to have both the cheerleaders and dance team helping each other out," Ritter said.

Injuries have plagued the cheerleading squad along with losing several members who no longer attend Baker. The squad also gained members Angela Slaughter and Lauren Wood, who are not on the dance team. The cheerleading squad needs 20 on the mat for the competition, but Ritter said the 18 they have right now would work.

"It's time consuming," Chandler said. "We just have a couple of weeks to learn a routine."

Scheduling conflicts shouldn't occur between the squads. The teams practice at different times and should have their competitions far enough apart that it will not be a problem for those who are doing both. In past years, the dance team has gone in the morning and the cheer squad in the afternoon or vice versa.

This is not the first time that dance team members have also been on the cheer squad for an event. Hess danced and cheered for HAAC last year and all three fliers for the cheerleading squad were dancers last year.

The dance team will be competing at nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla., in April, but the cheerleading squad is unsure if it will be competing at nationals and is concentrating on the HAAC competition. It is also unsure if Edwards, Sellers and Chandler will compete with the cheerleading squad if they do go to nationals.

The doors open at 11:45 a.m. for the HAAC competitions Feb. 16. Ritter encourages Baker students to go and support their cheer and dance squads.

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