As the Heart of America Athletic Conference championship approaches, the Baker University spirit squad has kept busy with preparations, performances and fundraising.
In 2011, the dance team competed in the National Dance Association Collegiate Championships and returned home as national champions. This year, they are hoping to win the HAAC competition Feb. 18 at MidAmerica Nazarene University and return to Daytona Beach, Fla., for nationals.
“To qualify for nationals, you have to have 75 percent of the top score (at conference), so we can qualify without getting first,” dance coach Lynsey Payne said.
Payne said dance nationals are different than other sports because it is more expensive. In an effort to pay for these costs, the team has participated in several fundraising efforts throughout the year.
On Jan. 18, the spirit squad hosted a youth cheer and dance clinic. During the morning, the squad taught the participants some dance and cheer moves then the youth were able to perform during halftime of the Baker women’s basketball game.
“There were a lot of girls, and they were really excited to learn about cheer and dance,” Kat Niehues, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, said.
The cheer squad is also preparing for the HAAC Championships and hopes to advance to National Cheer Association Collegiate Championships.