From The Blade:
Senior members of St. Ursula Academy's dance team — from left, Madison Walsh, Melissa Wittenmyer, coach Erin Parseghian, Caroline Kelley, and Lexi Hicks — hold their trophies.THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
In just its second year of state competition, St. Ursula Academy's dance team swept all three events at the state dance championships.
The group competed as part of the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators Sunday in Columbus.
After winning the pom and jazz categories in the 2014 competition, St. Ursula added a hip-hop title in 2015 and repeated as champion in the pom and jazz categories.
"Last year, we won two, and this year, it was our goal to win all three," senior Lexi Hicks said. "And we got to do that, and it was absolutely amazing."
Coach Erin Parseghian, also a business teacher at St. Ursula, took over the dance program last year and decided to emphasize high school competitions.
"The previous coaches would take the team to dance-studio type competitions, but they weren't really competing in the whole dance team world, which is extremely competitive," Ms. Parseghian said. "When I took over the team I said, 'You guys are so talented, we need to actually compete against other high schools.' "
In Ms. Parseghian's first two years, the team found quick success, capped by an impressive showing this year in the Universal Dance Association National Dance Team Championship in early February.
In its first appearance at UDA nationals, St. Ursula finished 10th in the jazz competition and 13th in the pom competition in the small-varsity category.
"It was our first time to go to nationals and it's a very big deal to make it to finals and we made it to finals it both," senior Madison Walsh said. "That's kind of unheard for a new team. And so, we really made a name for ourself and for our school. It's awesome getting to leave that legacy and know there is a name for us now at the UDA nationals."
The state competition marked the end of the season and the end of a successful two-year run for the team and its seniors, young Walsh, young Hicks, Caroline Kelley, and Melissa Wittenmyer.
"Two years ago, I would have never been able to guess that we would do this well or compete as much as we did this year and last year," the Hicks youth said.
The Northview and Ottawa Hills dance teams also had impressive performances in the state competition. Northview placed second in the pom and third in both jazz and hip-hop. Ottawa Hills was second in jazz, third in pom, and fifth in hip-hop.
Ms. Parseghian said this year has been a special one for the St. Ursula program.
"It was really amazing," Ms. Parseghian said. "The seniors have worked so hard and they went from hardly going to any competitions their freshman year to by the time they are seniors they are a nationally ranked team. It was a really awesome way for the seniors to end their dancing career here."
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