College Dance Team Central

Friday, June 18, 2010

Westfield State Tops In New England

Submitted to College Dance Team Central by the Westfield State Dance Team

The Westfield State College Dance Team defended their New England Championship title at the UDA New England Dance Championships held on April 11, 2010. This is the second time Westfield has won 1st place in the hip hop division beating out teams like UConn, Quinnipiac University , Keene State and Bentley University . The team was comprised of 13 members: 4 Captains: Valerie Skalinsky , Michelle Ronayne, Jennie Beneway & Meg O’Connell as wells as: Jodi Hogan, Meghan Simmons, Marley Aitken, Stephanie Desmond, Taylor Murphy, Caroline Kelly, Allie McLaughlin, Nicole Post and Jennelle LeMoine.

“This year was a very special year for me because I started coaching 4 years ago so this group of seniors was the group that I started with” said Alia Camerota, one of the coaches of the team. “It was very bittersweet because I knew that this would be the last time I got to watch this group dance. After 4 years of long practices, competitions and trips to FL, I’ve gotten really close to these girls and it will be very hard for me to not have them on the team next year.”

When I started coaching, the team was new, inexperienced and had never had a coach. The first year, we jumped right into competitions and did everything we could to put our names out there. It was a very important year because we got to know each other and our strengths and weaknesses as a team. Former team Captain and founder Allison Scully is now a co-coach. She and I started the team at our High School years ago and we always worked really well together. It worked out perfectly having her as my captain at Westfield and then moving on to coaching with me once she graduated. We had always watched the College Nationals on ESPN and admired the teams there so we made it a goal that we would attend the UDA National competition in FL the following year. That goal really made the girls push themselves and work their hardest knowing that there would be a lot of very good, well known teams in attendance.

After a successful trip to Florida , we went on to compete locally and we have been undefeated ever since. We have won the QU Dance Challenge 3 years in a row along with many other New England competitions.

I am so proud of what the girls have accomplished. For such a small school to beat division 1 schools says a lot about hard work. Before nationals in January, we were putting in 7-8 hour practices. Instead of enjoying their winter break the girls returned to campus in early January to have 2-a-days. As much work as it was, the team really enjoyed spending time together. Even when not at practice, most of them spend a lot of time with each other and some of them even live together. The memories we’ve created will last a lifetime and I have been very fortunate to have such a wonderful group of girls that I am extremely proud of.

Our first round of try-outs was held at the beginning of May and we will have a second round in early September for the upcoming season.

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