A Season for the Seniors

Maddie Feltner

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IMG_0453With the end of this year’s winter sports season, the Kings High School dance team is losing eleven of its most valuable members– its seniors. As their high school dance careers come to a bittersweet close, the seniors savor each final moment with their teammates, including their final Eastern Cincinnati Conference competition, senior night, and their trip to Orlando, Florida, for nationals.

The team competed at the ECC competition on February 2nd. This year was the fifth year in a row the team placed first in the ECC competition, competing with pom and hip hop routines. Kellyn Schroeder, a senior and the team captain, was ecstatic to hear the news of their win.

“Going into ECCs this year as a senior, a captain, and a four time win streak hanging over my head was very nerve-wracking,” Schroeder said. “I felt a lot of pressure to win the fifth time. Sitting in that circle and hearing our name for first was so exciting. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I loved to see the reaction on my teammates’ faces, too.”

After coming out hot after a win, the team was ready for their final senior night basketball game performance at the home game against Turpin on February 12th.

It was a bittersweet moment for the whole team. The girls have developed a strong bond over their years of high school, having tremendous success at the same time. Many found it to be a hard goodbye. Sari Purkiss feels surreal about leaving.

“It’s weird being one of the ones that is being celebrated,” Purkiss said. “[I’ll miss] being with the team everyday and competing with them.”

To make the night special for those who will be leaving, the younger dancers have traditions that they do every year. Planning these traditions can be a long process, but they were worth it when they finally paid off on senior night. The underclassmen brought the senior gift baskets including college gear including letters from all of their teammates.

“Senior night was extremely emotional this year,” Grace Bloomfield said. “It was sad seeing that part of my life coming to an end, but I was extremely thankful for all the experiences and memories dance has given me.”

A few weeks after senior night, the team headed off to Florida for their final and most important competition of the season: nationals. The girls competed against teams from all across the country in three categories: pom, hip hop, and game day. The team placed earning fifth, fourteenth, and second place in each respective category. These wins were the biggest of the season and the dancers were thrilled.

“I honestly felt so relieved and ecstatic,” Schroeder gushed. “We were sitting on the edge of our seats, listening to all the scores being announced. We wanted it so bad that when we finally heard our names, we were so excited. We have worked so hard for that opportunity and in that moment, I was so proud to be a part of a team that works hard for their goals and achieves them. I was also so excited to perform with my sisters one more time because I still wasn’t ready to let go of it.”

However, all good things must come to an end. After a massive success at nationals, the junior high, junior varsity, and varsity teams concluded their season on March 3rd with a spring performance, showcasing every dance they’d learned over the course of the season. Though it was a very difficult goodbye, all of the teammates can agree they will be able to look back on the memories they’ve formed on the dance team fondly for years to come.

“It’s hard to choose a favorite memory, but I would say that all the traveling we’ve gotten to do was awesome,” Bloomfield reflected. “Throughout high school, I got to go to Chicago, Hawaii, and Orlando twice!”

Perhaps the most valuable things they will take from their time on dance team, however, are the close friendships they’ve formed.

“I value the friendships I made on this team so much because I have been with these girls for hours and hours, through blood, sweat, and tears, literally,” Schroeder said. “We have gone through the bad times and the good together and they have been my support system all throughout high school. No matter what I’m worried about, I know I can come to these girls because they are some of the closest friends I have. We are there for each other no matter what and I feel so blessed to have them in my life.”

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