NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Fresh off of a disappointing ending to their 2019-2020 season, the LEAD Club Sports Team Of The Year, The Merrimack College Dance Team, continues to put in countless hours in the dance studio during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My heart was ripped into pieces knowing my dance career had come to an end a bit earlier than expected. I was at a loss of words; angry, beyond sad, and frustrated” said 2019 senior captain Marissa Adams when talking about the moment she learned the rest of the 2020 spring season had been cancelled due to the Coronavirus.
“The feeling around that team was that it was our year” said Adams. Anyone who was around or close to the team could see it in their eyes, they believed once they went to Daytona Florida for the Nationals competition, when they returned home, they would be returning with a National title. Fast forward 6 months, and that motto still rings true, “This is our year”.
Upon Merrimack College’s return to campus this fall, the team was eager to get back into the dance studio and pick up where they had left off. “This season definitely has been like no other” said junior captain Bella Agnoletti. “Because of COVID there are a lot more restrictions and rules we need to follow compared to other years. Because of social distancing guidelines we have not been able to run a whole team practice which means we have not met our whole team yet”.
Despite the circumstances, the team continues to push forward and make the best out of the current situation. When talking about how this year was different compared to years prior, senior captain Emma Reynolds emphasized how different practices are now due to the new restrictions in place. “They are shorter in length and smaller in size” said Reynolds, “As a captain, I have made a conscious effort to make practices just as enjoyable as they once were, despite tight restrictions and protocols. Practices are high energy, and everyone is eager to be able to get back into the swing of things, even with this “new normal.”
The reason Merrimack’s Dance Team has had the ability to push forward during these unprecedented times are because of the team’s strong leadership. Bella Agnoletti, Carly Thayer, and Emma Reynolds serve as the 2020-2021 team captains. In addition to the three captains, seniors Madalyn Letellier and Shelby Sawtelle also contribute to the teams “family like” atmosphere.
The notion of having a “family like” atmosphere was never more apparent than when senior, Carly Thayer, said that once this year is over that, “I will miss my teammates”. Thayer went onto say that she “felt extremely lucky to have a team that I think of as family here. I would do anything for my teammates, and I know that they would do anything for me”.
Winning the Merrimack College Athletics LEAD Club Sports Team of The Year award truly brought to light how hard working the team is, as well as how close they are as a team. The “award is given annually to the Merrimack club sports team that has not only achieved success competitively, but has also exhibited a commitment to student driven leadership through community involvement, successfully working with members of the Merrimack community, and positively representing Merrimack College as a whole.”
Winning the award meant more to the team then you may think, junior Tayleigh Tierney-Honan spoke about how winning the award last year after a heartbreaking ending to their season, how it validated all of the work they had done and even though they were unable to hit the stage in Daytona, walking away as Merrimack’s club sport team was something to be proud of.
When asked about why the team deserved to win the award, Carly Thayer made sure to acknowledge that many Merrimack sports teams show the same passion towards the Merrimack community and that it is a community effort. According to Thayer, the Merrimack dance team “has continuously done all of these things with nothing but pride for Merrimack College. Any time that we get the chance to represent our school, whether it be at a football or basketball game, we take representing Merrimack as the highest responsibility”.
Thayer went onto say that “it has never mattered to us how much we needed to practice or how early we needed to wake up for something, the smiles on our faces have always been one hundred percent genuine when we put that uniform on to support Merrimack and everything that they stand for”. The dance strides to represent the Merrimack community to the best of its ability each and every day and continue to do so during these unimaginable times.
When asked if they wanted the Merrimack community to know one thing about the Merrimack dance team, Reynolds said that “we are one of the most dedicated and hard-working groups on campus. Our love for the community truly shows through our efforts to represent Merrimack and all it stands for. We put our best foot forward in all that we do and love to show our passion for the community through our performances”.
“Although this year looks much different, we continue to strive to set the standard for what a club sport should look like on campus” said Tierney-Honan.
For more information about the Merrimack College dance team, please visit them online at https://merrimackcollegedanceteam.weebly.com, or follow them on social media @merrimackcollegedanceteam