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Lake Oswego High School nets top place at state dance championships


Lakeridge takes sixth out of 14 at the state dance championships

by: JAMES MCGREW - Lake Oswego High School students leaped, whirled and high-kicked through their routine, taking home first place in their division during the 2013 OSAA Dance and Drill State Championships March 13-16.In a showcase of athletic excellence, the brilliant purple-bedecked Lake Oswego High School dance team pocketed its third consecutive first place trophy at the state championships last weekend.

The Laker Dancers stepped into the top slot for the most competitive division, 6A Small, at the Oregon School Activities Association 2013 Dance and Drill State Championships last week at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

“Having been two-time state champions we felt a lot of pressure to have to come back and do it again,” said Kendall Shepherd, one of the team’s two coaches.

by: JAMES MCGREW - The Laker Dancers wowed the judges and the crowd with their bright smiles and smart moves last week at the OSAA state competition.The Laker Dancers performed to “Who You Are,” by Jessie J, taking on the song’s name as their theme, which for the young women meant letting go of insecurities and feeling content with themselves.

“Our theme was really special to us and the driving force behind our success,” Shepherd said.

James McGrew, whose daughter is a Lake Oswego High dance team member, said he is proud of the young women and in awe of their skills.

“I would say that dancers are definitely some of the best athletes all around: strength, flexibility, mental focus,” McGrew said. “The combination of what dancers do is unbelievable. Plus, they do it to music.”

Lake Oswego seniors Kate Dunham and Ann Yang earned a spot on the all-state dance team. Yang also received the Dance Drill Coaches Association Academic Scholarship.

“It was honestly and absolutely a dream come true, especially for my senior year,” said Dunham, 18.

The 6A Small division had more qualifying teams than any other division, and so competition was fierce. Plus, teams scored unusually high on average. Lake Oswego scored 86.22 out of 100, which is excellent because teams rarely make it into the 90s, coach Hayley DuLong said. No team broke the 90-barrier this year.

“There are challenges along the way, injuries, people getting sick, but this team really stepped up,” DuLong said.

Lakeridge High School’s 80.61 would have put it into the top five or higher in every other category. Lakeridge placed sixth in 6A Small. Fourteen teams in the division qualified for state during regional competitions earlier in the season.by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Lakeridge High School junior Megan Johansen takes the floor with her team during the OSAA state competition.

“In true Lakeridge High School spirit, (the students) showed their best sportsmanship, put a smile on their faces and vowed to come back even stronger next season,” said Suzanne Young, a Lakeridge parent and dance team supporter.

An association of professional judges assesses the teams based on execution (technique, precision), content (choreography, form) and overall effect (carriage, audio-visual repertoire).

Lakeridge High, which placed third last year, put in an intense effort this year, and the team should be proud of its strong score, Young said. She added that youths learn valuable lessons just by participating in a sport, whether they take home a trophy or not.

“They learn good sportsmanship, graciousness, humility and kindness,” she said.

by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Lakeridge High School came in sixth out of 14 dance teams in its division at the OSAA state competition.