Poms travels for the first time to Kansas City for state competition

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Blake Thompson

Dressed in costumes inspired by “The Greatest Showman,” junior Emma Roth, freshman Audrey Griswold and senior Kalina Kellogg kick to the song, “The Greatest Show.” Poms placed fourth in Division Four Kick at the Missouri Dance Team Association state competition Feb. 29. “We all dug deep and gave our all because we wanted to make the seniors’ last dance memorable. I think that we performed better than we ever have,” Roth said. “I’m sad that the season is over, but I’m glad that I could make lasting memories with the team for the last time.”

The varsity Longhorn Line Dance team (Poms) traveled to Kansas City for the Missouri Dance Team Association’s state competition Feb. 29. The team arrived the day before and stayed overnight at a hotel near the Hy-Vee Arena where the competition was held. 

For the first time in more than 20 years, Poms was approved to travel for state. 

“Any sport or activity travel approval is based off of the school. We have not received approval in the past to travel due to unfamiliarity, past experiences, etc.,” head coach Meghan McCreary said. “A disadvantage [sports and activities] have is not receiving any type of funding by the school or district. If we want to travel, [the team] would have to cover all expenses.”

This year, Mike Roth, Director of Athletics and Activities, covered the team’s $200 registration fee to participate. The team placed second and fourth in hip hop and kick, respectively, in Division Four.

“There are schools competing from all over the state split in different divisions [based on size of school], and it’s exciting to compete against teams in more accurate divisions,” senior and captain Sadie Hershenow said.

Meghan McCreary
The Poms girls pose for the camera after receiving their trophies.

The girls first learned their routines in November for their first competition Dec. 7 at Lindbergh High School. Fort Zumwalt North Dance Invitational Jan. 25 was another opportunity for the team to familiarize themselves with or change the routines.

“State was different because it meant so much more. We tried out some new tricks for the performance at state that I think went really well,” Hershenow said. “It was also special because we got to travel which was fun to be together as a team somewhere different.”

Although Poms had competed twice prior to state, state was a different level of nerves and competition.

“My first experience at state was really stressful because the arena was huge, and there were a lot of great schools there. It was also fun though because we got to see a lot of different teams’ really cool performances,” freshman Allie Byergo said. “We had a lot of nerves and adrenaline, but in the end, that helped us because we had a lot of energy.”

Poms competed in the evening slot, but were at the arena hours earlier warming up and getting ready. The girls and parents still had an opportunity to explore the city for dinner before the awards ceremony.

“The team went to dinner at Shake Shack, and it was really fun to hang out with everyone. We also got to see the city which was super pretty and a really cool experience,” Byergo said. “My favorite thing about state [though] was getting to room with some of my best friends on the team and spending time with them.”

State marked the end of the team’s season, and for seniors, the end of their Poms career.

“It’s very bittersweet. It’s nice to have some free time now, but it’s also really sad for me. Poms has been a big part of my life all throughout high school, and I’ve loved dancing for the team,” Hershenow said. “I love being close with everyone, and I’ll miss seeing the girls every day.” 

Despite falling short of the state championship, the girls are proud of their performance, improvement and drive throughout their long season.

“Knowing that these state performances were my last ones, I think they were some of the best performances I’ve ever had because I put so much into them. It was like this whole year had to be put into these dances so that it was all worth it,” Hershenow said.