January 28, 2020

Dance Team Seniors Reflect on Ohio State Experience

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Five seniors on the Ohio State dance team took the Universal Dance Association stage for the final time. And when they were finished, they’d helped the Buckeyes secure their fourth national championship in the last five years.

To reflect back on this remarkable accomplishment and look ahead to what’s next on their lives, Lexi Miehls, Megan Schmidt, Valerie Celentano, Olivia Gutentag and Adriana Pierleoni caught up recently with OhioStateBuckeyes.com.


Megan Schmidt • Senior • Miamisburg, Ohio

Megan is nearing graduation with her degree in new media and technology communications. A Miamisburg, Ohio native, she trained All That Dance in Springboro, Ohio and said her greatest sports thrill is walking into Ohio Stadium for the first time performing in front of 100,000-plus fans.

What will be your most lasting memory from the dance team’s national championship?
When we finished our second routine, for a moment everything happening in the arena faded out and I just felt the energy of my teammates onstage with me, and everyone knew they had just poured out their hearts on stage and no matter how the scores came out we had performed the best we could.

Reflecting back on your experience as a student-athlete at Ohio State, what will be the lasting lessons that you’ll carry with you?
The lasting lessons that I learned from being a student-athlete at Ohio State will be that Buckeyes are built different. My four years taught me that no matter how hard you push yourself you always have room to grow. I also learned that adaptability is key and no matter what situation you are put in you must learn to adjust and figure out how to be the best version of yourself in that moment. 

What are your plans for after you graduate and how has Ohio State helped prepare you for the “real world”?
Ohio State has prepared me in countless ways but one big one is learning how difficult leadership is and how you have to constantly be adapting your leadership styles to the groups with whom you come in contact. My future plans include looking into various opportunities with Ohio State and around the Columbus area. I know that no matter where my life takes me from this point on I will always have my dance team family and I am so excited to be on the other side and be able to watch the future teams live out their dreams.


Lexi Miehls • Senior • Toledo, Ohio

An Ohio native, Lexi grew up and trained at the Company C Dance Club before coming to Ohio State. She is a neuroscience major and will be pursing medical school following her graduation.

What will be your most lasting memory from the dance team’s national championship?
A memory I will never forget from the competition, would have to be the five seniors sitting in the front line together for the awards ceremony. Knowing I had the greatest teammates and friends surrounding me, while the national championship title is amazing, I am much more grateful for the people this program has given me. Finding out we had won while being huddled up with my team is an experience I will never forget.

Reflecting back on your experience as a student-athlete at Ohio State, what will be the lasting lessons that you’ll carry with you?
I could choose a hundred different lessons I have learned from my coaches and teammates from the past four years. However the ones which stand out most would be: one, how important it is to have loyalty and trust throughout your team; two, you can never overestimate how valuable it is to be prepared as possible in any situation because it is what builds confidence; and three, everything passes so quickly in the grand scheme of it all, so never forget to take in the little moments before it is all over.

What are your plans for after you graduate and how has Ohio State helped prepare you for the “real world”?
After graduating, I wish to pursue medicine. Ohio State has prepared me more than I could’ve imagined, and I feel ready to take the next step in my life. I’ve learned about time management, hard-work, and the genuine love you must possess for what you are doing in order to be successful.


Adriana Pierleoni • Senior • Rochester, N.Y.

Adriana transferred to Ohio State from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and is majoring in business administration. Her goal is to work full time for a software company.

What will be your most lasting memory from the dance team’s national championship?
Standing in our team circle with our coaches before we performed our routines will be a something that I’ll never forget. We were all able to look around at each other and know that we had done everything possible to prepare for that moment. As I was looking at my teammates, I knew that the endless hours of practice and preparation that each team member put forth would ultimately allow us to perform at our highest level. I will forever cherish the feeling of being surrounded by our coaches, my best friends and teammates, and the endless love and support we constantly give and receive.

Reflecting back on your experience as a student-athlete at Ohio State, what will be the lasting lessons that you’ll carry with you?
Though my experience of being a student athlete at Ohio State, I have learned countless lessons that have helped me grow as a student, athlete, and professionally. One I want to specifically highlight is the value and importance of teamwork. Being a student-athlete has taught me how to work cohesively with a group of people towards one common goal. A second lesson learned is time management. Successfully balancing academics and athletics will benefit me both in my personal and professional life.

What are your plans for after you graduate and how has Ohio State helped prepare you for the “real world”?
I will be graduating May 2020 with my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialization in marketing and minor in Dance. I am currently looking for a full time position in New York City with a high-tech software company. The Ohio State University and Department of Athletics has helped me in three key areas:

  • Achieving challenging goals
  • The importance of responsibility and integrity in representing the University
  • Respecting others

Lastly, I found the people, resources and support systems throughout this university to be undeniably the best! I will forever be thankful for my experience and time here on the dance team and at The Ohio State University.


Olivia Gutentag • Senior • Lewis Center, Ohio

A four-year member of the dance team, Olivia is majoring in human nutrition and has plans to work in the health care industry following her graduation.

What will be your most lasting memory from the dance team’s national championship?
When I think of my most ever lasting memory of my final nationals, two specifically come to mind. One being our semi-finals jazz performance.  We had never been so eager to show the audience this routine and when we ended, an eruption of applause broke out in the Hp Field House. We could’ve stood out for another five minutes just to take it all in. The second would be the moment when we were announced National Champions of D1A Jazz. We all instantly broke out in tears of joy.  I couldn’t imagine finishing out my dance career any other way than with my team, coaches, family and alumni standing right beside us.

Reflecting back on your experience as a student-athlete at Ohio State, what will be the lasting lessons that you’ll carry with you?
Being a student athlete at Ohio State has meant more than just winning national championships. It’s been about developing life-long relationships and creating a legacy for those to follow. I think one of the biggest life lessons I have learned is that it takes an immense amount of mental toughness and self-discipline to accomplish your goals. I’ve learned to never settle and keep challenging myself and teammates to always go the extra 10 percent.

What are your plans for after you graduate and how has Ohio State helped prepare you for the “real world”?
Upon graduation I will be earning my Bachelor of Science degree while majoring in human nutrition with a minor in business. My hope to work in the realm of the healthcare industry. I value optimal health and want to make a difference in others’ lives. I have been very fortunate at Ohio State by gaining a great deal of experience working alongside professional sports dietitians, nutrition services program directors and meeting prominent figures and CEO’s from across the country. Ohio State has been like a second home to me and I am forever grateful for every opportunity it has presented me with. I am proud to call myself a Buckeye and I can’t wait to see what my future has in store.


Valerie Celentano • Senior • Commack, N.Y.

Valarie is a native of Commack, N.Y. and has spent all four of her year at Ohio State on the dance team. She’s on pace to graduate with her degree in operations management.

What will be your most lasting memory from the dance team’s national championship?
After our finals performances and before awards, our whole team and all the people who came down to support us made a big circle outside to sing Carmen Ohio. It was so special to look around that circle and see so many people that I love and care about, and who care so much about our program. In that moment we didn’t know where we placed, but that circle was still beaming with so much pride. 

 Reflecting back on your experience as a student-athlete at Ohio State, what will be the lasting lessons that you’ll carry with you?
Being a student-athlete at the level Ohio State demands has taught me so many things about myself and has helped me grow in so many ways. Some of the lasting lessons that stick out to me are self-awareness and self-discipline, showing gratitude goes a long way, and anything is possible with true teamwork. 

What are your plans for after you graduate and how has Ohio State helped prepare you for the “real world”?
After graduation I plan to return home to the New York City area and work for a company where I can combine my passions and skills I have acquired over my time here at Ohio State. Ohio State Athletics and the Fisher College of Business have provided me with the knowledge and real life experiences that have prepared me to enter the professional world with confidence.