Dance team wins big at conference


Rayann Otto dances at halftime during the men’s basketball game a week before the 2019 American Rivers Conference Cheer and Dance Invitationals. The Storm had two first place finishes and one second place finish.

by Taylor Williams, Social Media Editor

The Simpson College dance team turned in a strong showing at the 2019 American Rivers Conference Cheer and Dance Invitational on Feb. 10, taking home first place in Jazz and Hip Hop and second in Pom.

The competition took place in Pella, where Simpson beat Central 92-91 in Hip Hop and 94-90 in Jazz.  

The dance team has been working vigorously all season to prepare for their competition season, according to Coach Paige Ahrens.

“The team has been working since August, with practices three to four times a week,” Ahrens said.

This is the second year of the American Rivers Conference Cheer and Dance Invitational. Simpson’s competitors included Central College, Wartburg College and Nebraska Wesleyan University. Central took first over Simpson in Pom.

“We are proud to hold titles over our whole conference,” Ahrens said. “It’s exciting to see them improve each time they take the floor.”

Senior Captain Taia Veren was thrilled about the results from her last conference invitational. “It was a great outcome, especially for senior year,” Veren said. “The team has come a long way and worked against many obstacles to get to where we are today.”

One obstacle the team had to overcome was losing a team member before conference. Sophomore Olivia Curtis had a prolonged injury and was unable to compete at the competition. She had, however, helped choreograph the team’s award-winning Hip Hop routine and still went to the competition to support the team.

“It was a long day and they had to have constant energy,” Curtis said, recounting the toll competition can take on a performers energy.

Although the experience was physically draining, the team prevailed.

“The fact that the last dance (Pom) requires the most energy, it was impressive to watch them still have so much left to show,” Curtis explained. “The competition was around three hours long of non-stop action.”

There were several new team members this year, including first-year student, Tyler Jacobs. He is one of the few male dancers to ever be on the school’s dance team.

“Going in, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was definitely a lot of fun and a good time overall,” Jacobs said. “Everyone was excited, and it was such a great atmosphere to be in.”

Sophomore team member Leah Edel echoed his sentiment.

“It was an honor to compete with such a phenomenal team,” she said, adding that she is excited for the rest the season.

Veren is proud of all of the team’s accomplishments this year and said she couldn’t be more confident going into their national competition in the beginning of April.

This year, nationals will be in Las Vegas, Nevada.