Even with hours of practice behind her, Lauren Hassell smiles from ear to ear as she talks about the team’s preparation for national competition in mid-January.
“We had talked about competing at nationals my freshman year, then again last year, but the timing just wasn’t right,” Hassell said. “This year, that was the goal in mind and it’s going to put our dance team on the next level.”
Hassell, a junior accounting major and third-year member of the Regal Blues, said preparing for national competition takes more work and time but it is more fun as well.
“We’ve just learned so many different and new things and added so many elements to our choreography,” she said. “Our hip hop is more stylized so we have a lot of tricks like head stands and head springs.”
Lauren Derveloy, head coach of the Regal Blues, said the national competition is set for Jan. 18, at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.
“We’re going to be competing against schools like LSU, Alabama and Memphis,” she said. “The competition will be showcased on ESPN, and I feel like it is a wonderful opportunity for us to represent Louisiana Tech in a bigger realm.”
Derveloy said the team has had very long and strenuous five-hour practices every Saturday in preparation for the competition.
“It gives us a good amount of practice because we’re adding a lot of partner tricks that the girls have never done before,” she said. “I’m so proud of them and where they have come both mentally and physically.”
Sonni Bennett, a senior health information management major and Regal Blue captain, said on top of regular practices and long weekend practices, the team attends three Cross Fit classes a week to make sure their bodies stay physically fit.
“We are pushing ourselves harder than we ever have before,” she said. “There is a lot more going on at our practices these days, but we love it.”
Bennett, Derveloy and Hassell all said they were beyond ecstatic to be able to represent Tech on such a grand spectrum.
However, because it is the team’s first year to compete at nationals, Derveloy said not everyone will be able to travel and compete.
“In past experiences, I have taken 20 to 22 girls,” she said. “This year I am only taking 16 because I think they are the most elite and experienced girls.”
Derveloy said she is proud of the dedication and determination her team has showed her on their road to national competition. Their determination has been showcased in more ways than just practice and mental dedication, she added.
“For nationals, registration alone is $11,000,” she said. “They have raised most of the money on their own, with no sponsors and only have about $4,000 left to go.”
She, along with Bennett and Hassell, said their main focus is to represent Tech to the best of their ability and do their best.
“The attitude the girls have developed during this process is a reward within itself,” Derveloy said. “These girls are full time students, some with full time jobs, so that shows their level of dedication, and I’m happy to see where they’ve come.”
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