For the fifth straight year, the Eisenhower High School Varsity Dance Team earned a top honor at the National Dance Team Championship.
The team earned a second place - or silver medal - in the jazz category at the annual competition, held February 2nd and 3rd at the Walt Disney World Resort® in Orlando, Florida. It is the only national championship of its kind.
The team's dance will be featured on ESPN2 in March.
This particular group has been together since last spring, practicing Sunday through Thursday every week.
Team members include senior captains Jessica Desano and Jenna Kwasny, Mackenzie Schafer, Kendall Crudo, Sydney Oprita, Lilly Smiscik, Ashley Fenn, Nicole Haist, Alex Vizzacarro, Alyssa Hoy, Kathryn Nagy, Jordyn Schmid, Alex Balsamo, Abbi Yucha, Becca Wright, Sam Droope, and Bella Cvetanovski. They are coached by Eppler Junior High School teacher Rachelle Anthony.
Anthony has coached the Eisenhower team for six years. She said the dance team program takes pride in teaching the students dedication, teamwork and determination – skills they will need in the classroom and in the future.
"The girls worked extremely hard, practicing Sunday through Friday to compete among the best dance teams in the United State," Anthony said. "The team has stayed within the top three for five years in a row placing third for the last four years.”
A panel of 20 judges from across the country scored the national competition based on technique, skills, choreography and precision.
The competitive dance season runs eleven months a year, April to March. In addition to performing at Friday games, the team has competed in regional events in Michigan and Chicago before the national contest in Florida.