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Best dancers in the state

Lake Oswego takes first and Lakeridge wins second


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: JAMES MCGREW - The Lakers hold hands as they step onto the floor for their performance at the state championships last week.After a routine set to Celine Dion’s cover of Heart’s “Alone,” the Laker dancers pocketed the first-place trophy for the fourth consecutive year in the state championships last week, and, to further thrill Lake Oswegans, the Pacers snagged second.

“It was the most amazing feeling in the world,” said Sophie Blauer, a senior and a Lake Oswego High team captain.

Dressed in silver, sequined leotards with a silken skirt and a deep-blue ribbon cinched at the waist, the Lake Oswego High team dazzled in the 6A intermediate category of the Oregon School Activities Association Dance and Drill State Championships with soaring leaps and several a la seconde turns, ballet spins incorporating a kick.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: SUZANNE YOUNG - Lakeridge dancers lift up their captain, senior Whitney Young, after hearing theyd won second in the state championships.

“Our coaches always tell us to focus on being our best, not on winning the title, so that’s what we did,” Blauer said. “We showed up to every practice ready to give 100 percent. We worked so hard to improve our technique and difficulty this year, and it was just the most incredible feeling to know that all of the hard work had paid off.”

Donning red velvet dresses with bejeweled backs and adorning their hair with rhinestone-bedecked sprays, the Pacers performed moves such as pirouettes and jetes (leaping side-splits) to James Vincent McMorrow’s “Higher Love” during their routine for 6A intermediate. The team hoisted their captain, senior Whitney Young, aloft with when they heard the results of the big competition.

“This has been an incredible year for the Pacer Dance Team!” Young said in an email. “Ending my dance team career, and this season with a second-place finish was amazing. ... I am so proud of what we accomplished together!”by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: SUZANNE YOUNG - The Pacers posed to celebrate their performance at state.

Lake Oswego garnered 88.17 points out of 100 points, and Lakeridge earned 85.5 points, beating five other competitors in 6A intermediate category who also made it to the state finals. The Lakers and Pacers earned record-breaking scores for their schools.

LOHS senior Jacqui McGrew, a team captain, landed a place on the all-state team, as did Young and Lakeridge team officer and senior Megan Johansen. Pacer officers Danica Berry, Lauren Stoesser and Megan Johansen were selected as 2014 OSAA Scholar Athletes, requiring maintaining a GPA of at least 3.5 throughout high school.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: JAMES MCGREW - Lake Oswego High team dazzled in the 6A intermediate category with lifts, leaps and several a la seconde turns.

The local teams also triumphed at a host of other competitions and state qualifiers preceding state, including Lakeridge’s first-place victory at a competition in Tigard and Lake Oswego’s triumph at a regional competition this fall at Centennial High School where the Pacers placed second. The Lakers also received an invitation to the National Dance Team Championships, where they made the finals, placing 14th out of 40 teams in the Large Varsity Jazz category.

“I am just so extremely proud of this year’s team,” said Kendall Shepherd, varsity dance coach for the Lakers. “They’ve wanted it from day one, and we gave it everything we could to ensure that they were prepared to go out and deliver two outstanding performances.”

The state championships not only were about victory and joy but also about saying farewell to the seniors — and to Pacers head coach Brooke Mattern, who is retiring.

“It was a great ending to the 2013-14 season, and my seven-year career as head coach of the Pacer Dance Program. ... My first year coaching, 2007-2008, the team also took second in state, so it has come full circle,” Mattern said.


By Jillian Daley
Reporter
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