Members of the South Brunswick High dance team, you just had your best finish ever in the national championships. Where are you going?
Seriously, they went to Disney World. They were there for an hour this past Monday. You know, a regular bunch of Eli Mannings.
"We're all exhausted, but still very excited," South Brunswick Coach Regina Boudwin said.
The South Brunswick dance team members are exhausted because in just a span of a little over four days, they flew to Florida and back, had two days of practices, two 14-hour days of competition and that hour at Disney World.
Of course, it all paid off. The South Brunswick High varsity placed 10th in the small jazz division at the National Dance Team Championships. The competition was run by Universal Dance Association at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex.
"Our goal was to get in the top ten and we accomplished it," Boudwin said. "It was the most thrilling thing ever. When they announced South Brunswick in tenth place, the girls collapsed on the floor in a big heap."
In addition to 10th in jazz, South Brunswick's varsity was 22nd in pom. The JV team was 8th in pom and 13th in jazz.
According to Boudwin, there were 350 teams competing. There are different categories, though. In addition to a separation of varsity/JV and the different events, there was also one for team size. South Brunswick was in the small team division, which is simply because it has under 15 members on each squad.
The members of the Black Team (varsity) are Daphne Donnellean (senior), Kayla Allen (senior), Cassie Yeung (senior), Rebecca Arroyo (sophomore), Heather Briody (freshman), Zoe Finkelstein (freshman), Caite Ignall (junior), Sami Orokos (sophomore), Mackenzie Rice (junior), Gianna Rosamilia (junior), Starr Vega (freshman) and Christina Trautwein (junior).
The members of the Gold Team (JV) are Kimberly Reed (senior), Doug Arouh (junior), Jackie Bell (freshman), Jamie Dellapa (freshman), Sidney Fiorentino (sophomore), Anna Goldin (junior), Lexie Hohmeier (sophomore), Morgan Johnston (sophomore), Hannah Martin (sophomore), Danielle McGregor (sophomore), Danielle Siegel (sophomore), Kaitlin Swierczek (sophomore) and Samantha Wereszczak (junior).
These dancers flew to Florida last Thursday and had a practice later that day. There was another practice on Friday, followed by two long days on competition on Saturday and Sunday. They headed home Monday afternoon.
"It's a long and fierce competition," Boudwin said. "There are a lot of talented teams from throughout the country."
South Brunswick earned its spot in the competition by its performance in a camp at Hofstra University last summer.
"What's impressive about the way we performed is the fact we do not have a year-round program," Boudwin said. "We did four days in the summer, but we do not start officially until mid-November. We just learned to adapt. The kids learned they have to get a lot done in a short amount of time."
So they certainly earned that hour at Disney World on Monday. Just like Manning, however, they headed back to New Jersey for some serious business on Tuesday. While Manning had a couple of parades to attend, the South Brunswick dancers were back to work. After all, the state championships will be held at Ramapo University on Feb. 26.
"We did very well," Boudwin said. "I can't ask for more. They represented their school and district very well. I'm so proud of the job they did.
"We had an hour Disney vacation (laughs), but now we have to get back to work."