“One team, one heartbeat” was the motto for the Northern Arizona University dance team this year. That singular heartbeat led the team to a level never before reached by the Lumberjack dance program: a Division I national championship. And not just one, but three.

Earlier this year, the NAU dance team captured its first Universal Dance Association Division I national title at the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading & Dance Team National Championships in Orlando. The Lumberjacks claimed first in the hip-hop category and third in the jazz—the only team to place in two categories.

And just last week, at the USA Collegiate Championships, two more national titles were claimed by the Jacks; again in the hip-hop and jazz categories.

“This year’s routine was a little different than what we’ve done in the past,” said Cassie Foss, director of dance. “We had a new choreographer this year and it had a variety of hip-hop styles. It made us look very diverse, and we stood out at nationals, which allowed us to come back with a national title. It was everything we could’ve ever hoped for, and it validated all of the hard work our girls put in.

“From the first day we started practicing last July, they really believed and they worked together,” Foss said. “They support each other, and they took it upon themselves to make this year the best they could. Winning the national title and placing third in jazz in Division I is huge for NAU. It made them proud to be part of NAU Dance.”