Maine South Hawkettes dance to top of new state competition
The Maine South Hawkettes with the team's Illinois High School Association championship trophy. | Contributed photo
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:26PM
The Maine South Hawkettes have often brought home accolades in national and state dance competitions, but this year, they’ve done something historic.
The Varsity Hawkettes were declared state champions in the large-school 3A division of the Illinois High School Association’s very first dance competition held Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 in Bloomington. The IHSA began recognizing high school dance as a sport this school year and this is the association’s first competitive event for dancers.
“It was amazing,” said Hawkettes Coach Jackie Graney. “The Hawkettes made history being the first team to ever win this.”
Two other schools were declared winners in the Class 1A and Class 2A divisions based on their school size. Last Friday’s preliminary competition featured 91 teams from across the state and the top 10 teams in each of the three divisions went on to perform Saturday in the finals.
The Hawkettes performed a kick routine for the judges, Graney said.
“We decided it would be best to stick with what we’re good at,” she added.
Unlike other competitions, individual members of the Varsity Hawkettes were recognized for the team’s victory, each mentioned by name and presented with a medal, Graney noted.
“They girls were in awe and excited when they announced their names,” she said.
The team is already looking ahead to another contest: the University Dance Association’s National Dance Competition in Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 2-3. During last year’s competition the Hawkettes took home a fourth-place finish in the Varsity High Kick category.
The 2012-13 Varsity Hawkettes are Danielle Austriaco, Alexis Basso, Haley Besler, Elizabeth Black, Kailee Breslin, Alexandra Ferro, Kayla Forsythe, Maeve Gallagher, Kelly Gibbons, Liza Hasan, Danielle Kirincich, Katie Kovalcik, Laura Kroll, Caroline LaPelusa, Meghan Martin, Megan Milito, Hayley Miller, Amanda Peck, Leah Schneider, Lia Tsikretsis, Meghan Villano, Jennifer Walsh and Emily Yagihashi.