The Highland High School dance team closed out a special season the best way possible after capturing state titles with all three of its AA routines, Jazz, Lyrical and Pom Dance, to cap off an undefeated competition season in Illinois on Saturday at the Illinois Drill Team Association (IDTA) State Competition held at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center in Springfield.
And that is not nearly all of the accolades. The squad also earned the AA High Point Team Award for its Jazz routine receiving the highest score of the entire competition with a 287 out of 300, and also walked away with the Grand Champion Award for having the three highest scores of the whole competition.
Highland earned a total score of 283.6 out of 300 with its Lyrical routine and received a 265.1 for its Pom Dance routine.
In addition, HHS senior captain Ally Becker was named the prestigious Miss IDTA for her solo routine that received the highest score of the entire state competition with a nearly perfect score of 298 out of a possible 300.
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“We had the definition of a clean sweep,” Highland first-year coach Emily Wellen said. “It was a perfect ending to this season. We went undefeated.”
Becker said it was a great and unexpected weekend and she could not have asked for a better way to end the season and her four-year illustrous prep dancing career at Highland High School.
“ I could not have asked for a better year,” she said. “At the beginning of the year, everything was against us and everyone was expecting so much from us. Out of all four years I have been on the team, this is the hardest year we have ever worked. Emily constantly pushed us to keep difficult skills in our routines. I constantly pushed my team to focus on technique and keep artistry in their movement, and the team constantly gave off great vibes, had no drama, and simply worked as hard as they can each and every day to achieve success. After winning IHSA, we worked even harder for IDTA since we wanted to keep the legacy of winning all our routines. It was a state that I will never forget.
“Along with Jazz being first and the highest score, we also got first in Pom Dance and Lyrical. We also got grand champion for having the three highest scores of the whole competition. All and all, I am so proud of my team.”
There was a bit of memorable drama at the awards ceremony because there was a tabulation error and Highland was announced in third place in Jazz while Triad was mistakenly called out as the first-place team. But hours later, the board and judges of IDTA realized that Highland was in first place with 287 points, which was in fact a full 11 points higher than Triad.
“This year we were on a whole completely different level,” Becker said. “We scored 10 points higher in all categories than other teams. We went from Highland being a legacy, to Highland becoming a dynasty. I can’t wait to see how successful next year and the years are to come.”
For her solo routine, Becker started the weekend off in a big way in Friday’s prelims after receiving perfect scores from two of the four judges.
Then on Saturday morning during finals, Becker hit a great routine and she ended up getting a 298 out of 300 with perfect scores from three of the six judges.
“I came into this year wanting just one perfect score and I finished the year with five total perfect scores,” Becker said. “Not only did I receive a high score, but the highest score in the entire state competition. It’s been a pleasure to compete in a solo and achieve success. All the years of hard work and dedication have definitely paid off.”
In addition to Becker, the Highland High School dance squad consists of Kayla Davis, Bree Etherton, Katie Etter, Alexis Finley, Paige Foster, Olivia Genteman, Alana Hollenkamp, Hannah Luitjohan, Kylie McFarland, Claire Pabst, Abigail Rogier, Reagan Thornton and Brooke Wilson.