January 12, 2017. The UC San Diego Dance Team left for UDA Nationals in Orlando, Florida to compete against teams from across the country. After practicing every week during the fall quarter and 35 more hours during the holiday break, the team was ready to compete in both the Jazz division and, for the first time in UCSD Dance Team history, the Pom division.
The team arrived in Florida late on a Thursday night and got their room assignments in the Disney All Star Resort. After a good night of sleep, the dancers practiced and prepared Friday afternoon before expecting to compete that Saturday morning.
The team woke up bright and early at 5:00am on the day of competition. Jazz was up first and with a division of over 30 teams, the competition was fierce. After one last run-through on the practice floor, the team took the stage at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Dancing to “Brand New” by Ben Rector, the UC San Diego dancers dazzled the audience with their bright costumes and radiant smiles.
Later in the afternoon, the team took the stage again to compete their hard-hitting, high-energy Pom routine. Our dancers showed their Triton spirit and wowed the judges with their fast turns, big lifts, and high jumps!
Only a few teams move on to the Finals round on the Sunday of the competition weekend. The team waited patiently for the results and were ecstatic to hear that they had made it to Finals in the Pom category! After reviewing score sheets, practicing on the hotel pavement, and treating themselves to a little fun in Walt Disney World, the team was ready to compete in the final round of the competition the next morning.
Bringing more energy than ever, the team competed their Pom routine one last time in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Their bright smiles and awe-inspiring tricks shook up the competition as they performed. The dancers were greeted with complimentary Gatorade and towels as they exited the stage and made their way to the audience to await the results of the competition.
All teammates held hands in anticipation of the awards announcement. After the scores had been tabulated, the team was delighted to walk away from their first time competing in Pom with a trophy for 8th place!
The team and Coach Jannike Avila were proud of all they had accomplished in just a few months. Luckily, they have another chance to compete their Jazz routine at USA Nationals in Anaheim later in March. The team will also showcase their award-winning Pom routine at Spirit Night in February. The UC San Diego Dance Team continues to grow in skill and experience every year and the dancers can’t wait to compete again in March and for years to come.
Feeling great after their win, the team couldn’t wait to perform their Nationals routine during Spirit Night at UC San Diego. After a long practice the previous night, the team felt confident that their routine would look great during halftime of the UC San Diego Women’s and Men’s basketball games.
During the women’s game, the team cheered loudly for their fellow Tritons. The Dance Team performed a pom routine in between quarters and then changed into their competition costumes for their halftime performance. Their halftime performance was a hit with the audience! The crowd cheered and applauded for the team after they finished their dance.
The team came back onto the sidelines to cheer on the UC San Diego Women’s basketball team for the remainder of the game. At the conclusion of the women’s game, the team prepared to do the same during the men’s game.
After cheering on the UC San Diego Men’s basketball team and performing their competition routine again, the team received multiple compliments from faculty, friends, family, and fellow students. The team felt great about their performances that evening. It was great teamwork and commitment that got them to that point and they couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! It was overall a great Spirit Night for all!
On January 15th, the UC San Diego Dance Team traveled from San Diego, California to Orlando, Florida to compete in the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship. This was the team’s first time attending this competition and they were determined to do their best.
Before the team traveled to Florida they learned that they would be competing against 27 other teams in their category, the largest category in the competition! In order to make it to finals, where only 50% of the teams in each category make it through, the team would have to place in the top 14.
After arriving to the Walt Disney All-Star resorts and attending orientation for the competition, the team quickly settled in before heading off to practice. There was no time to rest with competition being the following morning. Once the team had gone through the routine multiple times and cleaned it to the best of their ability, it was time to get some rest. The team had an early 5:30 am wakeup call to get ready for competition.
Day 1 of competition was finally here! The team and Coach Avila were so excited to see what was in store for them at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the location of the competition. After finding a space for a quick warm up, the team put the finishing touches on their costumes, hair, and makeup, and made their way to check in for competition. The team made the most out of their rehearsal floor time, working on turns in unison and other skills. Finally, it was time to stand on deck and wait for their team to be called. After one final pep talk from Coach Avila, the team was ready to hit the stage and give it their all. The team gave a beautiful and impressive performance, which landed them in 9th place! The team was moving on to finals!
Day 2 of competition had arrived and after a good nights rest, the team was pumped for their Finals performance. Before going to bed, the team and Coach Avila had reviewed their score sheets and judges comments from their first performance. They knew what they had to improve on if they were going to keep or improve from their 9th place. The team got ready and made their way to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their final day of competition. Once the team was warmed up, they headed over to check in for competition. After their rehearsal floor time, it was show time! The team was led down a long hallway to the backstage area. Team Captains Natalie Morales and Taylor Williams pumped up the team before walking through the castle and onto the stage. The team let their emotions shine through and gave it everything they had, resulting in a performance that was even better than the previous day.
After watching other routines and divisions in the competition, it was finally time for awards. The team made their way onto the stage and listened hopefully as the announcer called out the final placements. To their surprise, when 9th place was called it was not them. “Eighth Place, The University of California – San Diego”! The team, coach, and supporting family members erupted in applause. The team had improved enough from Day 1 to jump up to 8th Place! Everyone was so excited. This was only the team’s first time attending this competition and for their first time they did an amazing job! The team is very excited to return to the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship next year!
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