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Eric Peterson, Published January 20 2014

NDSU earns third straight national dance title

FARGO – North Dakota State has another team with three consecutive national championships.

Less than a month after the Bison football team completed a three-peat, the NDSU Dance Team won a third consecutive pom title Sunday at the United Dance Association college nationals in Orlando, Fla.

“It is very much like football,” said the dance team’s head coach Meghan Wabner. “Everyone is gunning for you.”

NDSU edged Cal State Fullerton for the national pom title in Division I, which includes FCS schools. Division IA is made up of FBS schools.

Cal State Fullerton, which was competing in pom for the first time, has won 13 jazz national titles in a row.

“We said we weren’t going to be the best team in the country unless we beat the best,” Wabner said of edging Cal State Fullerton. “We are only the second team to beat them in like 13 years.”

Wabner said NDSU was in third place after the preliminary round, which featured 12 teams. Six teams advanced to the finals and that is where NDSU delivered its top performance.

Wabner said her team cleaned up its two-minute routine from the prelims to climb to the top in the final round.

“They had to be flawless with that pressure in two minutes and they were,” said Wabner, whose team also took sixth place out of 30 teams in jazz. “If we would have made a mistake, we wouldn’t have won it.”

NDSU brought 18 dancers to the event and 16 are allowed to compete in each routine. Wabner said her team practiced twice a day since around Christmas leading up to nationals.

Wabner said those long hours of preparation make the difference when the winning margins are so slim.

“Our team saying is that crazy people win,” Wabner said. “You have to be crazy enough to obsess over all the little details.”

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com