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Jenny Leuer.

Jenny Leuer, memebr of the Gopher Dance Team, two-time national champions.

The spirit of a champion

From M, summer 2004

U of M senior Jenny Leuer knows that success in athletics and academics takes talent and brains--and a lot of hard work. Leuer is a member of the Gopher Dance Team, which won its second national championship in January. "You can be a good dancer with natural talent," explains Leuer, "but it is what you do above and beyond that natural talent that makes you great." Maybe that attitude is why she's also a Bailey Nutrition Scholarship recipient, in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. "Having a scholarship drives me to succeed," says Leuer, who notes that scholarships were a large part of her decision to attend the U. (Being "born and raised a Gopher fan" didn't hurt either.) From July through March, Leuer practices with the dance team for 2-1/2 hours, three times a week. On the off days, they lift weights. "At six in the morning, when they're in the weight room, they're not looking cute," says Dance Coach Amber Struzyk, a 2000 graduate of the Carlson School and former member of the team. That hard work is part of what led the team to win its second national title at the 2004 Universal Dance Association's Collegiate Championship in January. "It was the most amazing feeling ever," says Leuer, who was also part of the 2003 national championship team. When they're not competing, Leuer and her teammates perform at all home women's and men's basketball games, helping to cheer on the teams as part of the Gopher Spirit Squad. Leuer has one more year on the Dance Team, and then it's on to graduate school, probably to study physical therapy. "Hopefully that's here at the U of M as well," explains the Corcoran, Minnesota native. "I'm honored to attend such a great university!"

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