The Tennessee Volunteers aren't the only athletic team to secure a top five

ranking this week. The UT dance team recently turned in an energetic, aggressive

jazz qualifying routine to the Universal Dance Association and it earned

an expense paid bid to the Collegiate National Dance Competition to be held

in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 8-10.

Each year over 75 Division I-A teams submit a two-minute, unedited dance

routine in hopes of qualifying for the national competition. This year the

Dance Team's hard work and determination secured a third place preliminary

ranking. This means the dance team will forgo the semifinal round and enter

directly into the final competition.

"Our dance team has placed, top ten, in the finals competition in

seven of the last eight years," said Kim Patterson, head coach. "But

they have never qualified this high in the preliminary competition. This

is a huge statement to the rest of the country about the strength of our

dancers and the UT dance program."

The dance team spends up to 10 hours a week rehearsing for appearances

at each of the home football and basketball games. The dance team also is

scheduled for up to 10 additional appearances each semester. These time

constraints will only increase now that the dance team has something to

prove.

"We're all so excited," said Allison Lacy, co-captain. "After

all the countless hours of practice, it feels great to finally be recognized

as one of the best dance teams in the country. We're looking forward to

making that a reality."

The Collegiate National Dance Competition will be aired on ESPN in the

early spring.

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