The Highland High School varsity dance team danced its way into state history by capturing the Class 1A state championship at the IHSA Competitive Dance State Finals Competition on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in Bloomington.
"Winning the Class 1A state dance title was such an exciting moment for my team and me," said coach Michelle Deets. "The girls have practiced day after day, giving up countless hours of their free time as well as sacrificing time spent with friends and family. I am so proud of this team's accomplishment."
Seventy teams participated in the IHSA Class 1A sectionals and 40 advanced to the state preliminaries. Highland placed first out of the 30 teams, advancing to the Top 10 and a chance to compete in the finals.
The Lady Bulldogs were even better in the final round, receiving a score of 93.40, which easily outidstanced (Kankakee) Bishop McNamara's second-place score of 88.86.
Highland's score was also better than all of the teams in the Class 2A finals and all but three teams in Class 3A.
"It is only the second year of IHSA hosting dance, so it is a big accomplishment," said senior Carrie Eilerman, who is a captain on the squad along with Lauren Lutostanski and Miranda Wagner. "I thought we really went out there as a team and put it all out onto the floor. ... The screams we heard from the crowd after our performance was the best feeling.
"It really made us feel what we accomplished and we walked off the floor with our heads held high."
Deets also expressed appreciation to the parents, friends and community for supporting the dance team.