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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

St. Joe’s Dance Team wins Division I Pom National Championship

The Hawks won their second National Championship in Pom, and their fourth overall. PHOTO COURTESY SJU DANCE

On Jan. 15, in Orlando, Florida, the SJU Dance Team won the UDA College National Championship in Division I Pom for the first time in eight years. 

Alyssa Doyle ’23, captain of the SJU Dance Team, said after their routine, the team knew they had performed their best. 

“I could feel the energy radiating off the stage,” Doyle said. “There was no dip in energy at all throughout the performance.” 

The St. Joe’s Dance Team placed third in Division I Hip Hop. PHOTO COURTESY SJU DANCE

For Doyle and her teammates, it was more than just their performance that led to their first-place finish. Doyle said the team has spent the last four months working on perfecting their routine. 

“Our team motto was to show up,” Doyle said. “We showed up emotionally, physically and mentally to every practice and workout.”

The last time the Hawks won a national championship was in 2015, when current coaches Rachel Reese ’15 and Vikira Molock ’16 were members of the team, coming in first place for both Division I Pom and Division I Hip Hop.

Reese said it was a long eight years waiting for another title, but it motivated them to work harder each year. 

“Knowing what that feels like, to win a national championship, that’s all you could ever want for your athletes as a coach,” Reese said. 

According to Reese, the competition has become more intense each year, making the team’s goal of winning even more challenging. 

“This is extra special for this team because they overcame a lot,” Reese said. “It’s a whole new precedent in the dance world.”

Doyle said that the team took a risk with their routines this year, which fueled their performance even more.

“The goal this season was to put two routines out on the floor that we were very confident in,” Doyle said. “Being able to go on the floor with confidence is what pushed us to place so well.” 

Molock said this decision to take a risk with the team’s choreography is what set them apart from their competition. The team’s choreographer, Shandon Perez, chose to avoid the techno-style music of traditional pom routines.

“We focused on one song and tried to pull in different elements from that one song,” Molock said. “That really paid off this season.” 

According to Doyle, this new style of choreography challenged the team to be more precise with their execution, but helped them stand out. 

“We had to drill the beginning a million times and make sure that that slow timing was spot on,” Doyle said. “But the risk obviously paid off because it was something different.” 

Doyle said the thing that made the team’s performance stand out was not just the different choreography, but the energy the team brought to it as well. 

“As a team, every time we would go to set it up we were excited to do it,” Doyle said. “I think that definitely radiated through the entire performance.”

The team also placed third in Division I Hip Hop, making this the program’s 10th consecutive year of placing in the top five for both the pom and hip hop division. 

The team poses with all of the accolades they earned at the UDA College National Championship. PHOTO COURTESY SJU DANCE

“I’m so proud that we have well rounded versatile dancers,” Reese said. “We’re committed to excelling in both divisions and not just putting all of our eggs in one basket.”

Molock said that the program’s continued dominance in both divisions is part of what motivates them to get better each year. 

“This is the legacy that we’re all trying to keep going,” Molock said. “It’s really what continues to set us apart and keep us at this level.”

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Mia Messina
Mia Messina, Sports Editor
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