The team, led by senior captains Chelsea Vorland and Regina Waterman, earned its highest-ever score at the National Dance Alliance (NDA) College Nationals competition, a 9.23, and were less than 0.3 points away from this year's national champion, Boston University.
The achievement is particularly impressive given that the team had twice as many underclassmen as they did juniors and seniors.
The NDA College Nationals competition annually hosts the nation's best dance competitors among a variety of categories and competition levels. This year's contest took place in Daytona, Florida and UNO competed Thursday, April 7, and today to earn their second-highest finish in team history.
This is just the fifth year of UNO competing against Division I competition and each year they have finished in the top ten. In previous years, they have placed third (2015), fifth (2014), seventh (2013) and sixth place (2012).
"The competition was really strong this year, and the girls are extremely proud of their performances," Head Coach Mo Marmesh said.
This year's top five NDA Divison I Team finishers were:
1. Boston University
2. University of Missouri Kansas City
3. Stephen F Austin State University
4. University of Nebraska at Omaha
5. Sacred Heart University
The team's fourth-place finish routine consisted of three different performances based around the Phil Collins hit "In the Air Tonight" including jazz version, a hip-hop version and techno remix.
Marmesh, who is in her first year as head coach, said that the national compeititon is the culmination of a months-long effort that began last August at a regional NDA camp, where teams from across the midwest compete for a place at nationals. This year, UNO competed against such schools as Kansas State, Iowa State and South Dakota State University, just to name a few, and earned the camp's top ranking, Gold, which gave UNO an automatic bid to nationals.
"After camp, our focus shifts to promoting school spirit, and staying active in the community," Marmesh said. "It’s tough to find a balance with commitments to preparing for and attending athletic events, academics, work life, and nationals, but we make it work."
In addition to athletic events, the team has attended the Omaha Buddy Walk, Juvenile Diabetes Research Walk, Back to School Bash at the Henry Doorly Zoo, Race for the Cure, and UNO's Claussen-Leahy Run/Walk (now the Maverick Run).
This year's team roster included:
Chelsea Vorland (scaptain)
Regina Waterman (captain)
Gabby Usrey (senior)
Caitlin Manley (junior)
Kennadi Kropf (junior)
Emma Morice (sophomore
Morgan McCaw (sophomore)
Olivia Person (sophomore)
Sienna Scott (sophomore)
Jadyn Bechtold (freshman)
Kailey Fricke (freshman)
Rachel Mattley (freshman)
Mali Thramer (freshman)
Emily Tonnies (freshman)
Emily Stephenson (freshman)
For media requests, please contact:
Sam Petto, UNO Media Relations Coordinator
Charley Reed, UNO Associate Director of Media Relations
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.