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CEDAR RAPIDS — The freshmen are not the only new members of the Xavier Dance Team this year.
Xavier hired a new head coach for the 2017-2018 school year. Jess Novotny, owner and artistic director of Prestige Dane Studio in Cedar Rapids, was hired after the resignation of the former coaches, Kelli and Stephanie Breitbach.
“I was thrilled when I found out that I had been hired as the new dance team coach,” Novotny said. “Coaching is one of my biggest passions and I cannot wait to share that passion with the Xavier community.”
The team, consisting of 10 competing members and two alternates, has high hopes for the season and their new coach.
“I think change is a good thing, and Jess is the best thing that could have happened to this team and program,” said Caroline Richardson, a fourth-year member of the team. “It is going to be a great year with her.”
The team aims to qualify for nationals at camp this summer, held in July at the DoubleTree Hotel in Cedar Rapids.
A new coach is not the only change coming to the program this year. The program is now called the Xavier Dance Team, instead of the former name, the Xavier Pom Squad. Novotny felt this would be a good change to bring to the program.
“I feel like changing the title of the program gives it a more official feel,” Novotny said. “It gives all of us the opportunity to rethink the program and make it exactly what we want it to be, an elite group of varsity athletes, working and performing as such.”
The team will begin practicing twice a week at the end of May. Pending qualification, their season will end with a trip to Orlando, Fla., to compete at the national competition in February. The team also will perform at home football games, pep assemblies, basketball games and various community events.