Athlete Profile: Chelsea Lemon



Athlete Profile: Chelsea Lemon

By Copy Editor

Chelsea Lemon, one of the co-captains of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s dance team, led the Saluki Shakers to the Universal Dance Association’s national competition in Orlando last year. A senior political science major, Lemon grew up in Chicago, where she attended Lane Technical College Preparatory High School.

One of the first in her family to receive a bachelor’s degree, Lemon is set to graduate in May. She said she hopes to eventually earn a master’s degree.

The Chronicle spoke with Lemon during the March 31 The Benchwarmers Show on WCRX 88.1 FM about dance, graduation and her future goals.

THE CHRONICLE: How do you prepare for competitions?

CHELSEA LEMON: We go against pretty much everyone that enters [nationals] and it’s pretty intense. It’s not something you can just train for in about a week. We worked toward that competition all season, so while football season’s going and while basketball starts, we’re work- ing on our nationals routine…. We have a great support system and we have a great school behind us so … we go out and we give it our best and we do what we love to do.

CC: Where and when do you compete?

CL: We compete only nationally. We learn our routine by about October—mind you the season starts in July. Football and basketball overlap. We practice and practice while the other seasons are going on before we go [to nationals in January].

CC: What was the most memorable game for the Saluki Shakers?

CL: My best memory would have to be when the mens’ basketball team [played] Indiana State. It was sucha close game leading up to the end. I just remember hearing the music and looking out into the audience and really realizing that Southern Illinois has the best fans. I look up and I see all this maroon, even in the heat of the moment, not knowing which way the game is going to go, not knowing if they’re going to walk out with a win or a loss, but I just look up and see all the fans cheering and that really resonated with what it means to be a Saluki.

CC: Do you think getting the crowd pumped up affects the players’ performance in games?

CL: I really do. I think the players feed off of their support [from] everyone that’s there. I believe that’s what we’re there for. We’re there to uplift everyone’s spirits.

CC: I heard you have a dream of pursuing pageantry. Is that still an interest of yours?

CL: It is, but like I said, I want to get these degrees first and go from there. I’ve competed in a pageant here, and it’s something I’ve been completely fascinated with for a while now, so after I get these degrees and take care of business first, that’s something I can see myself doing.

CC: What are your post-graduation goals?

CL: My dream job [is] to be an ambassador for the U.S. I know I’ve got some schooling to do and I’ve got to get my face out there and I’ve got to really market myself. I’ve got a while to go, but I’m willing to work for it.

CC: What do you say to people who tell you that dance is not a sport?

CL: For those who don’t consider it a sport, we work out two times a week. When people say that, at first I want to laugh it off, then I like to say “I want to see you do it.”