May 9, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Raquel Thomas, a national champion dance coach and former captain of the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders, has been selected as the new leader of the Rock Chalk Dance Team as announced by spirit squad coordinator Cat Jarzemkoski Wednesday.
Thomas, a Shawnee Mission, Kan. native, has been involved with dance since the age of three. Most of her dance training was obtained from The Miller Marley Dance Studio. She is an alumna of Shawnee Mission West High School, where she was a member of the cheer and drill team for four years.
Thomas graduated from Avila University with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in teaching and learning. She served as the assistant dance coach for the Avila University Glitter Girls for 10 years and continued to devote time and support toward the program for two more years by helping the team prepare for UDA Nationals competitions. During her tenure with Avila, the squad won the 2005 National Championship in Orlando, Fla. In that same year, the Avila spirit squad became NAIA Conference Champions.
While coaching the Avila dance team, Thomas was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders for five years. She was a squad captain and represented the team at the 2001 NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 2003 and 2004, as a Chiefs cheerleader, Thomas was selected to be a part of the USO Variety Show Tours and traveled all over the world to entertain American troops. On tour, Thomas danced in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Italy, Fort Worth, Texas, Pensacola, Fla., and Fort Riley, Kan., among others.
During the 2011 season, Thomas was the Director for the AFL KC Command Dancers. Thomas currently teaches fifth grade in the Blue Valley School District. She resides in Overland Park with her husband, former Jayhawk basketball player, Billy Thomas, and their two children, Zion and Leyland.
“Dancing and cheering is the essence of a true performer,” Thomas said. “I am so grateful to be working with such a talented and dedicated group of women. Not only are they passionate about dancing, but they enjoy supporting the passion of their fellow athletes.”