North Central News

North Central dance and cheer teams make history at national championships

Jacob Imm

Apr 28, 2022

The North Central College dance and cheer teams each completed a historic 2021-2022 season at national competitions. The dance team competed at the Dance Team Union College Classic in Orlando, Fla., and came home as national champions in the Division III pom category as well as with a fifth place finish in jazz dance. The cheer team, meanwhile, placed third in the Intermediate Division III Co-Ed Division at the NCA College Nationals in Daytona, Fla.

The dance squad divided its time during the season between supporting North Central athletic teams and attending competitions. The team performs during Cardinal football, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's volleyball games. The student-dancers got a great boost of confidence as overall Grand Champions with first place finishes in pom and jazz at the Illinois Collegiate Dance and Cheer Invitational. It was their first in-person competition since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Head dance coach Victoria Pile emphasized the importance of feeding off the energy of live observers. “We were so eager to get back out and perform in person with live audiences after a year of no performance opportunities that we were ready to pour our hearts and souls into our dancing,” she said. Pile also stressed that having their own competitions to attend provides another level of satisfaction for the student-dancers.

“When we get to our competitive season, we can put together and compete routines that are for us,” said Pile. “We love performing for our athletic teams and crowds, but we also really appreciate having the time to compete … for a chance to also win championships and bring home titles for our college.”

The North Central College dance team with their national championship trophy.

The North Central College dance team with their national championship trophy.

The cheer program (pictured below with their trophy) earned a spot at the NCA Nationals in the summer of 2021 during a tryout at a prestigious cheerleading camp. It was especially gratifying, as it was their first time qualifying for NCA Nationals in five years.

The dance and cheer teams prepared for nationals by co-hosting a Cheer and Dance Showcase on March 6. Teams from five different schools in Illinois and Wisconsin provided a preview of their national performances, and both North Central squads hope to host similar showcases again in the future.

Cheer team officer Dianna LeCrone ’25 said this season was different for the cheer program because of their renewed focus on the team dynamic. “This year, we really emphasized what it is truly like to be a team,” LeCrone said. “Building (a) family on a team creates a loving dynamic where people want to do well for themselves and others.”

The North Central College cheer team with their trophy at NCA Nationals.


The historic significance of both programs’ victories are important and will make this a memorable season, but what did not change from years past was the personal development of the students. Dance and cheer competition help build confidence, dedication and leadership skills.

This year we focused on performing the best routines for our skill set so we could share our strengths as a team to our audiences and judges—we did not worry about what everyone else was doing which made it much easier to laser focus on ourselves,” said Pile. “The team spent a lot of time collaborating to make sure everyone felt comfortable and proud of what they were presenting, and I think that level of confidence brought the team to the next level when it came to competing.”

LeCrone was quick to credit her coaches for helping the cheer team grow and succeed through a unique and challenging time.

“I hope the team learned perseverance; to always keep trying when things do not … go the way you want them to,” LeCrone said. “Despite all the rollercoasters our program faced this year, (our coaches) were always there to push and keep our program working successfully.”