Dance competes at NAIA National Championships


Courtesy of Jaime Crawford

The Wolf Pack dance team competed at the NAIA National Championships in Ypsilanti, Mich. on March 12, 2023.

Arianna D'Antonio, Senior Staff Writer

Loyola’s dance team accomplished their first preseason goal with a home-field win at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics regional competition. The win gave the team the chance to compete at the National Championships in Ypsilanti, Mich., where they finished 12th.

Dylon Hoffpauir, head coach of Loyola’s dance and cheer teams, said he knew that hosting the regional qualifier in the Den would be a huge task, but that it felt great to win at the team’s home.

“After not qualifying in 2022, it meant a lot for us to be back at nationals,” Hoffpauir said. “The team’s been through so much, and they really came together to put their best foot forward.”

Hoffpauir highlighted the dancers’ hard work, and said they focused in and made the necessary changes to the routine so it was difficult enough to win regionals and qualify for nationals.

Criminal justice junior Gabriella D’Angelo said she felt at home competing in the qualifiers and enjoyed seeing their hard work pay off.

“Competing at nationals was nerve-racking, but was such a great experience,” she said. “We got to meet the other teams and watch all of the performances. It felt great representing Loyola.”

D’Angelo said the team practiced three hours a day, three times a week, with additional workouts twice a week.
Hoffpauir ensured the team achieved their goal of delivering a solid, clean performance.

“We showed two great performances, both with zero deductions, and we increased our score from prelims to finals,” he said.
Business marketing senior Kele Johnson said performing in the Den gave the team a home field advantage, and winning was rewarding.

“Competing at nationals my senior year as my last performance felt so exciting, knowing I finished off my college career doing something I love,” she said.