FAYETTE, Mo. - The Central Methodist University dance team did exactly what it set out to do Saturday at the UDA National Dance Competition in Chicago, Ill., earning top-three finishes in all four categories the team entered.
The team finished first in hip-hop dance and second in open dance. In the solo dance category, Lauren Darby (St. Charles, Mo.) received first-place, while freshman Danielle McCullough (St. Charles, Mo.) finished third. In addition to Darby and McCullough, nine other dance team members participated at the national event: seniors Haley Anderson (Troy, Mo.) and Reena Patel (Sikeston, Mo.); junior Ashley Ermeling-Lines (St. Charles, Mo.); sophomore Esther Macias (El Paso, Texas); and freshmen Caitlin Essmyer (Milan, Mo.), Raissa Kiboko (Norwalk, Iowa), Alyssa Morse (Highland, Mo.), Mollee Thompson (Ballwin, Mo.) and Morgan Wilson (Weston, Mo.). Central Methodist competed against dance squads representing 175 colleges and universities from all divisions across the country.
This year's Universal Dance Association Nationals was a new event for the CMU squad, but marked the second straight year the team competed at a national competition. Last year, Central Methodist participated in the USA National Cheer & Dance Competition, but only entered the hip-hop category.
The CMU team will now turn its attention to preparing for the Heart of America Athletic Conference spirit competition scheduled for Feb. 14 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.