NAME (MAIDEN NAME?): Casey Horton
WHAT TEAM YOU WERE ON WITHIN THE SPIRIT SQUAD: Gopher Dance Team
WHAT YEARS DID YOU CHEER/DANCE: 2002-2006
SHARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOITE SPIRIT SQUAD MEMORIES:
I could go on forever, I have so many! Being a part of the Spirit Squad was definitely the highlight of my college career, and some of the best memories were the simple things. One particular memory that stands out was at nationals: we crammed into the team van (I remember sitting on the floor between the driver’s & passenger’s seats) on our way to the Milk House at Nationals for Jazz Finals. It was silent when the Eminem song “Lose Yourself” came on, and I still remember the focused energy in the van when the lyrics said “if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted... would you capture it, or just let it slip?” Needless to say, we went on to win the Championship that day!!
Looking back, my favorite memories involve the lasting relationships I formed as a member of the dance team. I met some of my closest friends as a Gopher dancer, and I have been honored to be part of their weddings & their lives to this day!
WHAT HAS YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH THE SPIRIT SQUAD DONE FOR YOU IN YOUR POST-COLLEGE LIFE:
Being a part of the Gopher Dance team gave me great perspective on what it means to be part of a team. Nothing really compares to the feeling of accomplishing something you worked toward as a collective group. Whether it’s within my current dance team or in my corporate work environment, I am most productive & motivated when I am surrounded by a strong sense of teamwork. My involvement with the spirit squad has also provided me with so many great connections & experiences I still wear my 2006 National Championship ring on my left hand every day, and am always asked to share my experience with others. I wear it not only to show my pride, but also to remind myself that, in any aspect of life, hard work will allow you to accomplish anything.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO CHEER/DANCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA WHEN YOU WERE IN COLLEGE:
The dance team is actually what drew me to the University of Minnesota I cannot imagine my college experience without it! Although it was always a sizable time commitment, it made my 4 years at the U of M absolutely unforgettable. My passion for dance would not allow me to leave it behind after high school, and the Gopher dance team always challenged me to be a better, stronger, more well-rounded dancer.
APPROXIMATELY HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE ON THE TEAM WHEN YOU WERE:
In my years on the team, I believe it ranged from 15-20 dancers. It was the perfect amount, and truth be told, we all got along so well!
HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE SPIRIT SQUAD AS AN ALUMNI (IF YES, IN WHAT ASPECT):
I have tried to stay as involved as possible! I have assisted with judging the annual auditions, I enjoy helping at practices for camp, taping & nationals, and you’ll definitely find me in Maroon & Gold when I cheer the team on at shows & competitions. Unfortunately, I no longer live close enough to be as involved as I once was, but I am always checking in to see how the team is doing!
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE GOPHER SPIRIT SQUAD THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
The talent on each of the teams continues to grow year after year, and I only wish I could dance with the amazing girls on the current Gopher Dance Team. The University is so fortunate to have such a strong Spirit Squad, and the program continues to excel & build upon its already outstanding foundation. The Spirit Squad traditions are what keep it alive and make it so fun to be involved as alumni!
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH US SOME THINGS ABOUT YOUR LIFE NOW (FOR INSTANCE DO YOU STILL LIVE IN MINNESOTA, DO YOU HAVE CHILDREN, WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?)
I uprooted from my hometown of Minneapolis, and I currently live in Boston, MA, where I moved for a position within my company, General Mills. I decided to get back into dance this year, and I now work for the World Champion Boston Celtics as a Celtics Dancer. The professional dance world is filled with exciting new experiences, and it reminds me of my days on the raised floor at the Williams Arena “Barn”, cheering for Gopher Basketball. Between dance & a full-time corporate job, I don’t have much extra time for hobbies, but when I can, I try to fit in travelling abroad, choreographing for various teams, and learning new languages. I hope to pursue an MBA in the next couple years, and as always, I hope to keep dancing!