BVU Cheer, Dance Teams Growing into Third Year

Cheer & Dance coaches look back on a successful season and see the program making even more strides as BVU eyes national competition in 2021.

Buena Vista University’s new cheer and dance program has what one might consider the best of both worlds when it comes to the coaching staff.

Director Kezia Molinsky came from San Francisco to help get the program off the ground, one of the initiatives in the BVU Strategic Plan. Molinsky’s assistant, meantime, came from a few blocks away. Tori Stille danced as a prep at Storm Lake High School. She also cheered and danced at BVU, where she earned a degree in marketing in 2016.

“When I learned cheer and dance would be an official sport at BVU, I was so excited,” says Stille, whose primary area of expertise is dance. “I was excited as an alum and excited for the future as we’ve got so much potential here. It’s awesome to be able to build a sport.”

“I was so impressed with the campus and community when I came here."

Kezia Molinsky, Director of Cheer & Dance

Molinsky, on the other hand, participated in cheer during her undergraduate time at Western Oregon University. She’d been teaching and coaching in the high school ranks in San Francisco when the opening at BVU caught her attention.

“I was so impressed with the campus and community when I came here to interview,” she says. “People here don’t know how good they’ve got it when it comes to traffic concerns and the cost of living. I’ll take winter in exchange for the quality of life you can enjoy here.”

BVU Cheer Team cheering on Beaver football
BVU's Cheer Team amps up the crowd from the sidelines of a Beaver football game.

BVU dance and cheer participants keep busy during the year with in-season workouts that stretch from the start of the academic calendar to spring. Both units, in fact, recently prepared for competition in a national meet in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The dance team hoped to capitalize on a very successful regional meet in Minneapolis last month when it earned a first-place honor in pom and a second-place effort in the hip-hop category. The dance team took home second-place accolades, overall.

Unfortunately, the national meet was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While disappointed for her student-athletes, Molinsky understands the decision and will use the lost opportunity as a means to motivate her 2020-21 teams.

“We had an awesome state competition in Des Moines in December and then really excelled at Wow Factor, the competition in Minneapolis,” says Molinsky, who directed a combined squad of 19 student-athletes, a number that will grow to at least 25 by fall.

“We’ll have 10 new recruits for next season,” she says.

The coaches look forward to even more activity as the program heads into its third year.

“I am kind of jealous,” Stille says with a light laugh. “There are alumni who would have really wanted this chance.”

“It’s great having Tori as a part of the program as she brings legitimacy, telling our students how she was able to do both dance and cheer,” says Molinsky.

“Plus, she was able to choreograph a dance portion of our cheer routine. It’s great for each of us to have a sounding board, someone to bounce ideas off as we put routines together. It’s a great learning process.”