By Sage Tippie
After a victorious turnout at regionals, the varsity dance team, the Cougarettes, flew to Orlando, Florida to compete in the NDA National Championships from March 3-5.
“As captain, doing so well at nationals was just a remarkable feeling. All year we trained to make sure we’d be ready to compete at the national level, and by helping make many executive decisions with my coach, I feel as though we cared for our team in a way where we were prepared well,” Sara Advent, senior, said. “I think we were all fully focused in on our goal, which contributed to our success immensely. This win was very rewarding as it’s my final year on the team.”
The Cougarettes arrived in Orlando late in the afternoon on March 2 and attended a team bonding dinner after settling into their rooms to rest up before their turn on stage the next day.
“Before taking the stage with my team, I always get a little nervous, but I try to find the good kind of nerves, knowing that I have prepared all season for this. As soon as the music starts though, those nerves go away, and I’m dancing in the moment with my girls,” Alexis Almeido, junior, said.
On the first day of competition, the girls competed in the pom preliminaries and made it to finals, where they placed eighth out of 31 teams. On the following day they competed in preliminaries for jazz, also qualifying for finals. On the final day of competition, the Cougarettes competed in jazz finals and placed 14th out of 25 teams.
“This year was expected to be a ‘rebuilding year’ because half the team was new, but we all worked really hard through strenuous workouts and long practices. Earning top 10 in the nation was a huge goal of ours, so we were really proud that all of our hard work throughout the season paid off,” Hana Sasaki, sophomore, said.
The afternoons after competition were spent exploring the Universal Studios walk and enjoying dinner at various restaurants, one being a piano bar where the girls danced. To celebrate their victories, their final day in Orlando was spent at Universal Studios riding rides and touring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The girls returned on March 7, and in the words of the Cougarettes, they are “proud but never satisfied” with their successes at nationals.