After six months of practice, preparation, and competitions, varsity poms competed at the statewide competition for schools across Colorado. On Dec. 8, 11 different teams competed for the title of Jazz State Champions and only one came out in first.
Our very own Vista varsity poms won the title with their dance, “What The World Needs Now,” with an overall score of 93.45 at prelims and 94.80 at state. At both competitions, Vista pulled through right in front of Chaparral High School who beat Mountain Vista the weekend prior to state. At prelims, Vista placed first with .03 more points than Chaparral. At state, they grew to beat Chaparral by 1.33 points. “Same team, same dream. Dance is based on technique as well as execution,” junior Sydney Nobles said. “Our goal was to advance to finals and dance our hearts out, capturing the love, hard work, and dedication we have put in over the last 20 months.”
After each performance of the dance, people were bound to be crying. In fact, after their performance of the piece at the preliminary competition, most of the team was crying and hugging each other. Even members of the audience wiped their eyes and sniffled as the team passed by on their way out of the main stage area. “We all believed and felt the emotions of the song so strongly. So when we danced it really showed the audience how we felt.” sophomore Maggie Coers said.
As the team sat on the main stage of the Denver Coliseum awaiting announcements of awards, the eagerness of the dancers was visible. Once the Jazz category was finally introduced, the girls linked hands and bowed. They then gripped onto each other so hard you could see them shaking on the big screen. “I was feeling a lot of anxiety,” sophomore Paige Swaim said. “I knew we had done the best that we could. We didn’t know how Chaparral did so there was a lot of anticipation waiting for [the judges] to announce second place.”
It takes more than just a coach to lead and teach a team. Seniors and team captains Allison Perardi and McKenna Hollingshead have worked hard all year to help shape and teach the team both dancing and bonding. Perardi and Hollingshead are very pleased with how the season turned out. “Winning state was the best feeling ever, we finally achieved our accomplishments. For two years we have been working towards that title,” Perardi said. The work had truly paid off for all the dancers, coaches, and captains. “We were super nervous, but we were also excited to see all the work we had put into this come to life when we perform,” Hollingshead said.
Since poms team won state, that means the next step for our dancers is nationals in February. Over her time in the Vista poms program, sophomore Caroline Paulsen has not yet had the opportunity to go to nationals yet. “We’ve come so far and it feels crazy to seem that we can get even better.” sophomore Caroline Paulsen said. However, senior Ashliana McIntosh has attended nationals with the poms team. “Doing each other’s makeup and hair in the hotel rooms is really fun,” McIntosh said. “Competing on that stage is really cool because it’s outside of where we’re comfortable.”
With nationals approaching slowly but surely, the intensity of practices and rehearsals will increase. “As a team we’re going to make sure our tricks are uniform so everybody looks the same while [dancing].” junior Nikki Moran said. “Also I really think we’re going to try and get our emotions down to try and convey the story to the judges.”
“To prepare for nationals, I attend every practice religiously, take several additional technique classes, and try to visualize myself at my best,” junior Addison Dean said. “As a team member I try to inspire my teammates by doing my best and encouraging them to do the same.” Even though the workload may get heavier, sophomore Teagan Dunn knows how to handle it and remain inspired. “If one person isn’t giving 100% then you’re not all working together,” Dunn said. “I stay motivated for my team and for myself, because with motivation comes results.”
It’s been a few years since Vista poms have made it to nationals, but the accomplishment is definitely a highlight of senior Sam Avrin’s final year on the team. “It’s exciting that we went out with a really good year, but it’s a bittersweet feeling.” Avrin said. Until February, the girls will be pushing themselves to become the best they can be.