While many students roll out of bed in the early morning, regretting the selection of an 8 a.m. class, there is a group of 20 girls who are already out, awake and on their feet. These girls are dancing, doing stadiums and rehearsing routines as early as 6 a.m. Most students would only dream of being part of a nationally recognized organization; most students, however, aren't a part of Florida State's dance team, the Golden Girls.
"The most difficult part has to be waking up for 6 a.m. practices," said Golden Girl and FSU freshman Jessica Schepp. "I love to sleep, and waking up at five in the morning is not easy."
FSU senior Kristy Griffith has been a Golden Girl for the past four years. She has been dancing since she was three, when her mom signed her up for classes. Griffith loved it, so she kept attending. She was a member of the dance team while in high school. After applying to college, dance played a big part in deciphering which college she would attend.
"I knew I wanted to keep dancing when I went to college," Griffith said. "It was between here and UF. Here, they had a better dance team."
Today Griffith holds the position of captain of the Golden Girls and served as co-captain last year.
"Kristy is always looking out for everyone, and she genuinely values our opinion on various topics that come up during practices," said Golden Girl and FSU junior Lindsey Haddock. "I respect her so much for the commitment and dedication she shows the team."
Upon trying out, girls endure a three-day process of learning combos and facing eliminations. Many new and old faces try out. Past team members are required to try out as well. No one is guaranteed a spot.
Auditions generally take place during the spring, in late April or early May. The minimum acceptable grade point average is a 2.5 from the previous semester and a 2.0 at the time of try outs. Griffith made the team as an incoming freshman, while she was still in her senior year of high school.
"I was pretty excited," Griffith said. "My first year we got T-shirts, so that was pretty cool. I got to wear it around high school when I went back."
At basketball games, in the homecoming parade and at competition, the girls never cease to amaze audiences, displaying their hard work. They participate in community service projects and make appearances at off-campus events promoting FSU.
"My favorite part about being a Golden Girl is representing the university," FSU sophomore Summer Renner said. "Whether dancing on the basketball court and cheering on our basketball team, dancing at Pow Wow, or competing at our national competition, I feel so proud to be representing FSU."
With so many things going on at once, on top of school and other commitments, times can be stressful. A big part of being involved with the team is having the ability to balance school, work, and dance. At the end of the day, the girls find that facing their challenges and obstacles are more than worth it.
"The most difficult part about being a Golden Girl would definitely be time management," FSU senior Merrick Hinterscher said. "Being a Golden Girl, you must put this first and truly commit yourself to the team. Sometimes I miss out on things that my friends are doing, due to practice or workouts, but in the long run I get to dance with my friends and represent FSU around the community."
During Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the Golden Girls will head to UDA Nationals at DisneyWorld, in Orlando, Fla. They currently stand ranked at number five in the nation.
This year, the girls have received a paid bid, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.
The team's biggest rival is the University of Central Florida. Other rivals include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Kansas. The girls hope to improve their already impressive standing.
"This year we are going into National Competition as a top five seed out of around 40 universities, so we are ecstatic," said former Golden Girl and current coach Wendy Crawford. "We are hoping to be ranked even higher once we actually compete by getting in the top three.""
Day in and day out, whether performing, practicing or training, the Golden Girls continue to be dedicated, true Seminoles spreading school pride.
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