Cats take over State

Cheer and Dance compete and annihilate the competition

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Photo provided by MW cheer and dance

The varsity Dance team placed first in the Hip-Hop division and 3rd in Jazz. The varsity Dance team placed first in the Hip-Hop division and 3rd in Jazz.

Jasmine Hermosillo-Padilla , Editor-in-Chief Catalyst Online

On Feb. 18 and 19, the varsity cheer and dance teams competed in Grand Island at the annual State championship. 

On Thursday, the dance team competed in the Hip-Hop and Jazz categories against 4 other local schools in the area. 

“State is a big deal to us,” head coach Laura Pickett said. “It’s really important that we represent Millard West on a high, excellent level and standard to get to the level we need to be at. After our competition in Iowa, we practiced every day to get ready for state. The team stayed focused and motivated, fixing details that needed work from the previous Iowa competition.”

During the practices prior, the team changed their tricks and lifts throughout their routines to elevate the difficulty on the score sheets.

Starting off in the Hip-Hop division, the girls danced synchronized to Moment For Life by Nicki Minaj. The team performed a high rhythm routine packed with various flips, multi-person lifts and motions. 

Following this number, the team took part in the Jazz category, dancing to Never Tear Us Apart by Bishop Briggs. In this love story inspired routine, the 12 girls incorporated typical Jazz elements including leaps such as grande jetes and turning jumps, various turns, aerials and front handsprings. These were used to display the deep bond and chemistry that the girls have demonstrated leaning on one another during this time.

In the end, the team came out victorious and won first place in the small varsity Hip-Hop division and placed third with their Jazz routine. 

“As a senior, I felt very sad that this was my last time competing here at state”, senior Madeline Unger said. “It was also nerve-racking because we were working really hard to defend our title, but I am beyond grateful that Nebraska was able to hold the event during COVID.”

The next day, the cheer team competed on Friday in the Small Tumbling, Non-Building division and The Game Day division. 

The Game Day routine displayed what traditional cheerleading is about. The squad led the crowd through a defense or offense cheer, displayed a fight song and performed a band chant. Throughout this performance, the team used multi-colored poms, signs, flags and motions to get the audience engaged.

For their second routine in the Tumbling division, it focused on showing the skills they have worked on throughout the season. There were synchronized running and standing passes displayed across the dark blue, nine panel mat, along with jumps and kicks. It then continued with a cheer that emphasized their school pride stating that the crowd needs to “Get Wild for the Cats.” It ended with their traditional fight song, along with more flips to end on a high note.

“I think the team did very well in both divisions this year,”  junior Audrey Froloff said.” In the Gameday division we had no deductions which was amazing. And in the Tumbling division we only had one deduction which is pretty good, I am very proud of my team.”

At awards, the cheer team had a clean sweep and took first in both of their divisions. 

Overall, the State competition was another chance for the teams to reflect off of their performances and prepare for Nationals in Florida. With weeks left to practice, the teams will push themselves  harder to improve their routines to compete one last time in April at the UDA and UCA NationalChampionships.