SEWARD, Neb. – It’s time for competition season to get underway. The Concordia University cheer and dance teams arrived back on campus prior to the start of the second semester in preparation for Friday (Jan. 17)’s Doane University Invite in Crete, Neb. Also on the horizon is the Concordia Invitational Tournament (CIT), where the cheer and dance squads compete in conjunction with the long running basketball event.
The Bulldogs are led by Mandi Maser, who is in her fourth season as head coach. Maser’s teams are captained by seniors Morgan Fritsch and Annie Pico and junior Lanessa Kerner in cheer and junior Kalina Schoenfeld in dance. Both squads are eying improvement in 2020 after they turned in 2019 GPAC placements of sixth in dance and seventh in cheer.
“The No. 1 thing on the cheer side is being able to master the skills while avoiding the deductible aspects of it like bobbles and falls,” Maser said. “We have to make sure we hit the elements at our skill level before we can attempt to increase difficulty. We want to make sure everyone’s healthy and everyone is able to compete. We’re competing 14 on the mat this year, which is an adjustment from past years.
“On the dance side, we have a group of really dedicated dancers devoted to increasing their technical skills and efficiency within those elements. They’re having a really fun time performing their routines so I’m excited to see them step out there with a high level of confidence and really perform.”
The 2020 season will mark the fourth in which the NAIA has held an official Cheer and Dance National Championship. The national event is set to take place in Davenport, Iowa, March 13-14. Concordia will be involved in a regional qualifier meet at Morningside on Feb. 29.
For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs will host their own cheer and dance invite. The 2020 competition will take place inside Walz Arena on Feb. 1. Concordia is also slated to host dual meets versus Morningside on Jan. 22, versus Doane on Feb. 5 and versus Hastings on Feb. 12. Those events will coincide with Bulldog basketball games.
The upcoming CIT competition (third annual for cheer/dance) will feature the Concordias of Ann Arbor, Chicago and Wisconsin, in addition to Nebraska. The cheer and dance meet is slated to begin at 10:15 a.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 25 from River Forest, Ill.
Maser’s teams also appear regularly at other home Bulldog sporting events, such as football, basketball, wrestling and volleyball contests.
Said Maser, “Each year we’re getting to the point where we don’t have major adjustments to the scoring and the rules. That’s still an ongoing thing with where things are in the NAIA. The kids do have more experience at competitions, which gives them a little more relaxed feeling in competition. They’re not as anxious about how things are run and how things are scored. I’m excited to have them get out on the mat and celebrate how hard they have worked. We’re excited to get it going at Doane.”