Lovell dancers impress, place second at State

For the sixth time in the 2011-12 school year, a Lovell High School team has placed in the top two at a state competition.

Last Wednesday, March 7, the Lovell Dance Team, under the direction of coach Sharla Parks, placed third in the tough Class 3A division at the Wyoming State Spirit Competition in Casper.

The Lovell team scored 87.667 points on the judges’ score sheets, placing second only to Lander, which received a score of 89.333 points.

Performing their “state routine” during the recent state basketball tournament were (l-r) Melissa Ellis, Shay Kite, Ashley Steenbakkers, Tiana O’Tremba, Chelby Lewis, Whitney Grant and Jordan Harper.

Lovell defeated always tough Star Valley and Jackson Hole, which earned scores of 86.333 and 81, respectively. The top four were followed by Kemmerer, Wheatland, Lyman, Powell and Douglas.

It was Lovell’s best showing since the strong team that placed second to Jackson in 2009, scoring 96 points. Lovell finished fourth in 2010 with 78 points and in a tie for second with Lander last year with 85.667 points, again behind Jackson.

“Being two points from first place was a huge accomplishment for these girls,” Parks said. “We had some goals for State this year. First of all, we wanted the girls to do their very best, which they did. Their routine was received very well by everyone, those from Lovell and those from other schools.

“Even when we performed during state basketball we had countless people, a lot of whom we didn’t even know, compliment this routine. This year’s routine was very fun, fast-moving and very visual. It was an easy one for the crowd to get into. It was also very difficult and technical, probably the most difficult one our team has ever done, which was also appreciated by the judges and the crowd.”

Members of the LHS state team were seniors Tiana O’Tremba and Melissa Ellis, junior Shay Kite, sophomores Ashley Steenbakkers, Chelby Lewis and Jordan Harper and freshman Whitney Grant.

Parks said another of the team’s goals was to place higher than Star Valley and Jackson, which the team did.

“Star Valley and Jackson have always been in the top tier at State,” she said. “In the past five years Jackson has won four times. And before Star Valley moved up to 4A they had won for 10 consecutive years in 3A. So for us to come up and beat both of those teams was huge.”

Parks noted that both Star Valley and Jackson high schools are about four times larger than Lovell High.

“For a 2A school to place so well against 3A teams (with much larger dance teams) is very exciting,” she said. “In most of the bigger dance teams, girls come from very strong dance backgrounds, and they are required to take ballet and other dance classes before even trying our for their high school teams. The fact that our girls are able to do as well as they do at State without this strong dance background says something about their dedication.

“This group of girls is very dedicated to dance and also very supportive of each other both on and off the dance floor. They start in August and do not have a break until after state competition in March. Even during Christmas they are learning their state routine and practicing.”

Parks said Lander, Star Valley and Jackson all had strong routines this year.

“It was one of the toughest competitions since I have been the dance coach here at Lovell,” she said. “Also, if you look at the 4A scores, we scored higher than all but Evanston (88.33) and Kelly Walsh (89). That is also a huge accomplishment for our team.

“I would like to thank all of the parents, friends and family who traveled down to Casper to support the dance team, as well as those who watched the competition on the Internet. We have never had such an amazing crowd at State. It really boosted the girls’ confidence to have so much support in the audience. We have had a great year, and I feel lucky to be the coach of such an awesome team.”

Cheerleaders improve

The Lovell High School cheerleading team continues to improve under coach Minda Ohman. After finishing 13th in the non-stunt category in 2010 with 74.667 points, the Lovell squad finished ninth in 2011 with 76.250 points.

This year the Lovell cheerleaders moved up to sixth place with 77.333 points behind Lyman (91 points), Cokeville (87.667), Douglas, Wheatland and Star Valley.

Members of the state cheerleading squad were seniors McCall Ohman, Angel Jasso, junior Angelica DeGroat, sophomores Camille Ohman, Chelby Lewis, Lauren Stewart, Sahara Jasso and Stephanie Allred.

Rocky Mountain placed 12th with 72 points. Members of the team, coached by Sally Bernhisel, were seniors Caitlyn Sorenson, Ciera Coleman and Camaron Wambeke, juniors Miranda Southworth and Maci Zier, sophomores Sydney Tyacke, Haley Strom, Haley Stauffer and Lacey Johnson and freshman Melissa Bernhisel.

By David Peck