Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

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Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Roaring Debut: Lindenwood’s Lion Line dance team competes in Division 1 at Nationals

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Photo by Robyn Ferrel and Gregg Ferrell
Lindenwood’s Lion Line Dance Team in their Game Day uniform.

The Lion Line dance team competed at the UDA College Nationals from Jan. 12 to Jan. 14 at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The team has competed in this Championship since 2009, achieving the “National Champion” title 10 times.

“Competing at UDA college nationals each year is an unforgettable experience, and this year was no exception,” sophomore Maddie Young said.

For the first time since, the team entered the Division 1 category this year, accepting an immense challenge.

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“This year we were moved to compete at the division 1 level at UDA nationals and I couldn’t be prouder to say we were the first ever dance team to do so here at Lindenwood,” Co-Captain Karli O’Connell said.

The dancers found out that they were competing in Division 1 two months before they were leaving for the competition, which added bigger challenges to what they were preparing for.

“We went in with the mindset of proving to ourselves that we can compete at the d1 level. The energy and love that exudes on that stage is a feeling I wish I could have every single day,” O’Connell said. “Getting off the stage each time was so bittersweet, not knowing what our fate would be since there were so many unknowns.”

Competing against more than 15 teams, the dancers from the Lion Line Dance Team emerged stronger than ever and demonstrated incredible skills, unity, and passion.

“Walking into a new division so suddenly, most definitely left room for intimidation and worry, but at the end of the day we could either decide to let it intimidate us or motivate us,” junior Captain Grace Quante said. ”I am proud to say we chose the second option.”

The team competed in the Jazz and Hip-Hop semifinals in the State Farm Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports on Jan. 13. The lions advanced with nine other teams to the Hip-Hop Finals and competed again on Jan. 14.

“One of my favorite moments was finally being on stage with the team who has been my greatest source of motivation and seeing us all have such a fight no matter the outcome,” Quante said.

Lion Line placed 8th in D1 Hip Hop with a score of 83.2381 and 12th in the D1 Jazz division with a score of 88.0317

“We put in countless hours of practice and conditioning, both on and off campus, and during breaks to prepare,” Young said. “But what sets us apart from the competition is our close bond and love for each other, and this showed on the stage with our strongest performances.”

The Lion Line Dance team has always been recognized as a team with strong bonds between its members. The team hosts bonding activities during the year that help to strengthen these friendships.

“Our team chemistry this year was something I have never experienced before in a team, and there was never a day where I wasn’t excited to go to practice or a workout, even during our hardest days,” Young said. “This team is truly something special, and I am so grateful I was a part of making history alongside an incredible group of girls and coaches whom I have the most love and respect for.”

While enjoying the thrill of their achievements, the dancers reflected on the incredible journey that brought them to that moment, grateful for the opportunity to represent their team with pride in the competitive world of Division 1 dance.

“Lion Line heart is unlike no other and we truly could not have competed or gotten through our season without the love we all have for one another. The trust and bond we all have with one another is truly what makes our team so special,” O’Connell said “Yet we proved to ourselves we are worthy of competing at this level if we just focus on what we know how to do and that truly showed in our results this year. I can’t wait to keep pushing through our off-season, so we can accomplish and even more next season, showing the incredible gifts Lion Line has to offer. I am proud to say I am a member of this team, and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. “

Lion Line’s debut in D1 was proved to be a success, affirming their place, and fueling their passion for dance even more.

“It is such a genuine feeling, to be a part of a team where facing adversity does not result in defeated minds,” Captain Payton Richardson said. “This team embodies the biggest Lion Line hearts I’ve ever seen, and the pride I feel for the history we made in our first year in the D1 division is immeasurable.”

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Catalina Corredor, Reporter
Catalina Corredor is a photographer and a reporter for Lindenlink. She is a senior double majoring in Cinema Arts as well as Mass Communication with an emphasis in Media Arts and Production at Lindenwood. She is an international student from Colombia and is involved on-campus with Sigma Sigma Sigma, Synergy Dance Association, and Lindenwood Cinema Arts Association.
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