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LOHS, Lakeridge dancers finish among Oregon's best at the state championships in Portland

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Lake Oswego High earned fourth place at the 2016 Dance and Drill State Championships in Portland on Saturday. Senior Kendall Ivey made the All-State Team.The format for the 2016 Dance and Drill State Championships may have changed from previous years, but the results did not: Dancers from Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high schools are still among the best in Oregon.

Lake Oswego captured fourth place and Lakeridge pocketed 11th place in the 6A division of the Oregon School Activities Association’s competition last week at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Gresham High finished first, followed by Barlow and Sunset.

“I wouldn’t go back and change anything for the world, because it was the best that we could have done," said senior Kendall Ivey, the Lakers' co-captain, "and that’s all you can do is do your best.” PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Lakeridge High's Kenzie Hudler strikes a graceful pose during last week's competition, where the Pacers finished in 11th place.

Kendall Shepherd, co-head coach of the LOHS Laker Dancers, wrote her team a tender message on Facebook. “In 10 years of coaching," she said, "I have never been more proud of my team.”

"Your fire and determination is touching, and watching you come together, committed to one another to give the best performance of your lives, was one of my most favorite coaching moments ever," Shepherd wrote. "Thank you for being such beautiful people. I adore all of you and will remember this team forever.”

In previous years, 6A teams were split into large and small divisions, but that changed this year when all teams faced off, no matter how big or small. Camille Feinstein, a senior and Lakeridge dance team co-captain, said she learned a lot from competing at state.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - With a 3.82 average GPA, Lakeridge dancers had the best grades among all the 6A dance teams. Camille Feinstein was named to the All-State Team.

“I have learned how to come together as a team and enjoy the amazing opportunity we are given to dance at state, no matter what the placement may be,” Feinstein said. “When I look back on my time on the team, I will remember the incredible friendships and memories made, not our placement.”

Michelle Skidmore, co-head coach of the Lakeridge Pacer Dancers, said she took a moment to remind her team that dance is subjective.

“You have to do your best to fulfill the requirements of the score sheet, but then also leave all you have on the floor,” Skidmore said she told the team, “and if you walk away proud of your performance, that’s important. Above all, if you walk away a better dancer, a better student, then we’ve accomplished major goals.”PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - LOHS dancers earned high marks from the judges during last week's state championships, finishing just three points behind eventual champion Gresham.

Before attending the big event, schools compete in tournaments held throughout the season to determine performance order at state. Twenty-five 6A teams then competed in a preliminary round on March 17; both Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high schools were among the 13 that qualified for the state finals on Saturday.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Lauren Jacobs floats with the help of her Lakeridge teammates during the state dance and drill competition in Portland.

In addition to the team honors, two local dancers also were individually honored for their own movement magic. Lakeridge senior Camille Feinstein and LOHS seniors Kendall Ivey and and Scarlett Andrews were among about 30 dancers who earned a place on the All-State dance team.

“Hearing my name announced for the All-State Team was one of the best feelings I could've imagined,” Feinstein said. “It was something I have looked up to and wanted since I first made it my freshman year, and my hard work really paid off.”

Dancers tried out for All-State in January and waited until Saturday to hear whether they’d earned the honor, Ivey said. It wasn’t an easy laurel to obtain, either.

“I think performance is definitely a big part of it, and I really like performing,” Ivey said, “and you have to have pretty good technique and endurance to keep up with a long routine, because the routine they teach you (for the All-State competition) is pretty lengthy.”

This year's placements might not have matched last year's performances, when LOHS leapt into first place and Lakeridge spun its way into third. But the year stood out in other ways: the Lakers got a chance to compete in the National Dance Team Championships in Orlando, Fla., placing 18th overall; and the Pacers notched a 3.82 average GPA, the best grades among all 6A dance teams in the state.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Lake Oswego co-head coach Kendall Shepherd says she'll always remember this year's dance team, including Rhys Richmond, who can leap several feet into the air.

“I think this was a great way to end the year,” Ivey said. “I couldn’t have imagined a better four years on the team. The girls on the team are my best friends, and I wouldn’t trade a minute with them for the world. I think it was the best time. Being on this team is probably the best thing that could have happened to me in high school, and no matter what, I will always remember it and be proud of it.”

By Jillian Daley
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