Redmond High dancers perform in the Kick competition at nationals. Front row, Makenzie Snow, Ava Williamson and Jocelyn Leiter; second row, Jessica Blanding (not visible), Ana Baldner, Evie Arnquist and Jaime Wilkinson; back row, Mallory Ekman, Deryni Mahoney and Kaitlin Brown. Photo courtesy of USA Dance Nationals

Redmond High dancers perform in the Kick competition at nationals. Front row, Makenzie Snow, Ava Williamson and Jocelyn Leiter; second row, Jessica Blanding (not visible), Ana Baldner, Evie Arnquist and Jaime Wilkinson; back row, Mallory Ekman, Deryni Mahoney and Kaitlin Brown. Photo courtesy of USA Dance Nationals

Creating Redmond High history on the dance floor

Mustang squad qualifies for nationals for the first time.

Redmond High’s dance squad loves performing together and feeling camaraderie when they’re in the midst of competitions, said head coach Natalie Carpenter.

The Mustangs kicked their legs and strutted their stuff into the school history book when they qualified for nationals for the first time on March 29-31 in Anaheim, California.

They placed second in Military and fifth in Kick to follow up their performances at the WIAA Dance and Drill State Championships on March 24 at the Yakima Sundome. In the 3A state Pom competition, they snagged fourth; in the Military category, they took fifth. They have placed in the state top five for two years in a row.

“The girls are successful because they make a commitment to the team culture and the positive achievement of the squad; not just the success of an individual dancer,” Carpenter said.

Redmond qualified for nationals at the USA Dance regionals in March at Skyline High and continued unleashing their two-minute routines throughout the rest of the month.

The girls put their all into everything they do for about 11 months out of the year, said parent and booster club treasurer Heather Snow, adding that the athletes, coaches and parents are all in it together.

Redmond High’s dance team, from left to right, back row: Lorelei Thaler, Amanda Alvis, Selene Monticello, Caroline Moore, Makenzie Snow, Evelyn Arnquist, Jamesyn Gray, Meera Hoar and Ava Williamson; middle row: assistant coach Doreen Blanding, Deryni Mahoney, Addy Pineda, Roshni Matthews, Angel Daza, Ruby Galicia, Kaitlyn Brown, Jocelyn Leiter and head coach Natalie Carpenter; front row: lieutenant Mallory Ekman, lieutenant Jessica Blanding, captain Jaime Wilkinson, captain Ana Baldner, captain Vanshika Kumar and lieutenant Bethany Mumford. Courtesy photo

Redmond High’s dance team, from left to right, back row: Lorelei Thaler, Amanda Alvis, Selene Monticello, Caroline Moore, Makenzie Snow, Evelyn Arnquist, Jamesyn Gray, Meera Hoar and Ava Williamson; middle row: assistant coach Doreen Blanding, Deryni Mahoney, Addy Pineda, Roshni Matthews, Angel Daza, Ruby Galicia, Kaitlyn Brown, Jocelyn Leiter and head coach Natalie Carpenter; front row: lieutenant Mallory Ekman, lieutenant Jessica Blanding, captain Jaime Wilkinson, captain Ana Baldner, captain Vanshika Kumar and lieutenant Bethany Mumford. Courtesy photo

“The key to our team’s success was the amount of passion and determination we brought, not only to every performance, but also to every practice. We work really hard to practice how we want to perform,” said captain Jaime Wilkinson.

Captain Ana Baldner noted that performing at a competition is a mix of adrenaline, stress and excitement, especially at nationals on the huge stage and under the bright lights.

“It’s scary being out on the dance floor and putting so much emotion into a performance, but remembering that you also have 25 other dancers by your side, rooting for you, makes competition performances a lot of fun,” she said.

Captain Vanshika Kumar realized that being part of the squad for four years has made her not just a better dancer, but a better person.

“We learn to manage our time, and deal with adult emotions and interact with all types of personalities,” she said. “The girls on the squad are like sisters; we win, we lose and we grow together. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of this dance family.”

LW WINS STATE TITLES

For the second consecutive year, Lake Washington High’s dance squad won a pair of titles at the state championships.

In the 3A Military category, LW scored 268.30 points and Bonney Lake took a close second with 267.80; in the Pom competition, LW notched 276.70 points and Capital finished second with 271.80.

LW’s dance team members — some of whom are Redmond residents — include Sydney Wickman, Kaia Grobstock, Angela Johnson, Kayla Brodie, Riley Sampson, Maddie Lawerence, Ella Bettinger, Reese Latin, Maddie Burns, Malia Berbano, Sage Boyd, Taara Elahi, Arisa Brown, Sophie Crane, Rina Suzuki, Arianne Green, Anna Rongerude, Anna Lewis, Paiton Jensen, Phoebe Mangouras, Annabelle Martin, Elle Seeler, Sarah Vincent, Jaeda McCormick and Sam Tsubota. Coaches are Lindsey Ryan, Amy Moorhead, Jeanne Gloudemans, Jennifer Hahn and Kayla Torimoto.

Ryan, a former LW dance team member and 13th year Kang coach, said when her girls take the floor in competitions and training, it’s all about “Get It” — which stands for grateful, efficient, trust, infinite and tough.

“Being on this team is like a sisterhood because we’ve become so close over the 11 months of working together, all working hard while still becoming friends and enjoying the journey,” she said.

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