The Baker University Dance team took third place at the inaugural NAIA Competitive Dance National Championships on March 11 in Oklahoma City. Baker was just 0.85 points behind second-place Aquinas and 5.6 points behind the first-place Midland team.
The NAIA’s recent decision to consider dance and cheer as sports resulted in a change in the setup of nationals as well. Senior dance team captain Michaela Jamison said the team finally received the validation they knew they deserved.
“We practice year-round and do game-day things as well as our competition, sometimes at the same darn time,” Jamison said. “It’s just so cool to be recognized for the work we put into our sport.”
Four Baker dancers earned All-American honors, the most from a single team. Alyssa Monson, McKenzie Kula, Allie Howland and Alison Prather all earned the honor. Kula and Krista Porter were also named Daktronics Scholar-Athletes. The Scholar-Athletes award goes to athletes who are at least a junior and earned at least a 3.5 GPA.
As a team, Baker received the NAIA Champions of Character Award. As the Champions of Character representative, sophomore Maddy Lutz visited John Rex Elementary School and read to pre-K students. Representatives from each team competing talked to the students about the NAIA’s core values.
“I talked to them about how I live those traits out and why they are important to me,” Lutz said. “It was awesome seeing how interested they were and how eager they were to start applying these traits.”