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Forum staff reports, Published January 21 2013

NDSU wins second straight dance title

ORLANDO, Fla. – Nearly 20 members of the North Dakota State University dance team packed into an Orlando, Fla., hotel room to practice until midnight last Saturday.

“We got yelled at by security a couple of times,” said NDSU Dance coach Meghan Wabner, whose team was practicing eight hours later in the hotel parking lot. “We ended up getting quite the audience who thought we were spectacular. We just told them we weren’t spectacular yet.”

The dancers considered themselves spectacular a few hours later at Disney World, where they won a second straight championship at the United Dance Association Nationals.

They defended their Division I championship in the pom division beating out second-place George Mason and third-place St. Joseph’s with only one point separating the three teams. Division I is the second-highest division, one below Division IA that includes teams from the largest universities.

“It was difficult being the reigning champs,” Wabner said. “Everyone is just gunning for you. But our girls were very, very focused.”

Especially after Saturday’s preliminaries, in which NDSU’s scores put them in fourth place.

That’s why they practiced late that night and early Sunday morning.

“We took our score sheets from the preliminaries very seriously,” Wabner said. “It was like the judges were telling us ‘if you want to win this again, you have to fix these things.’ And our girls delivered.”

NDSU improved its preliminary score by four points to earn its second straight championship.

Its performance will be aired on ESPN in late February or March.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” said Wabner, who was once a member of the NDSU Dance Team that has been in existence for about 12 years. “We have had a lot of finishes anywhere from sixth to second place over the years, but finishing first two years in a row is very special.”

NDSU also placed sixth in the jazz division.

NDSU Dance Team members are: captains Emily Sumpmann and Emma Palm of Maple Grove, Minn.; Caroline Bohn, Eden Prairie, Minn.; Hillary Ehlen, Sasha Steichen, Elizabeth Kossan, Jordan Reznecheck and Ashley Gerdes, all of West Fargo; Courtney Wabner, Monticello, Minn.; Megan Supan, Anoka, Minn.; Katelin Madsen, Draper, Utah; Janelle Amacher, St. Paul, Minn.; Maren Lack, Minnetonka, Minn.; Emily Vrchota, Edina, Minn.; Sarae Olson, Fargo; Kalynne Malmskog, Moorhead.

Wabner’s assistant coaches are: Morgan Hannenberger and Kristen Oldyn.