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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

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

No time for an off-season

The SJU Dance Team performs at a men’s basketball game (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

SJU Dance Team prepares for next season

While basketball season ended in March, the St. Joe’s Dance Team, known for their performances center court of Hagan Arena, is still at work. After all, creating a nationally ranked team is a year-round job.  

Captain Heather Briody ’19 said the team practices twice a week from March to May, which is considered the team’s off-season. In addition, team members are required to attend workouts twice a week, usually lead by a junior or senior teammate. 

“I would say our season never really ends to be honest,” Briody said. “We’re already preparing for next season by working on technique and advancing some tricks that we could use.”

When they are in season, the team practices five times a week, including weekends when they’re prepping for nationals, which takes place in January. The team was Universal Dance Association (UDA) Division I Hip-Hop national champions in 2014, and UDA Division I Hip-Hop and Pom national champions in 2015. This January, the team placed third in Hip-Hop and fourth in Pom. 

Lucia Petrongolo ’19 said even during summer break, the team is on campus preparing for their upcoming season. 

“We’re here all the time,” Petrongolo said. “We give our everything all year round.” 

The team is currently made up of 20 women. Various senior members of the team said having what is considered to be a small team allows the women to form close bonds with one another, as all team members lean on each other for support. 

Petrongolo said the sport is very rigorous, so that support in and out of practice helps the athletes push each other to be their best.

“It’s hard on our bodies and hard on our minds,” Petrongolo said. “Being a motivator for each other is really important, especially in this sport. We have to support each other. We are one big family.” 

Dominique Ostermueller ’19 is a transfer student at St. Joe’s this year and a rookie to the team. She said she has had three dreams since she was 10 years old: attend St. Joe’s, be a food marketing major and being selected for the St. Joe’s Dance Team.

“I was extra nervous coming in as a junior,” Ostermueller said. “My adjustment was difficult since I didn’t know if I should become friends with the other rookies or become friends with the juniors, but now I feel like I could say anything to anyone on the team.” 

Petrongolo said everyone on the team comes into practice each day knowing their reason why they are participating in a sport that affects them both mentally and physically.

“We’ve got to be the best that we can be,” Petrongolo said. “It’s all about getting each girl to believe in the fight and believe in themselves. Knowing that we’re a team really helps push the fight.” 

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