For the Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge competitive dance teams, this season has always been about redemption.
Last season, the Wolves missed out on state entirely, and Crystal Lake South bowed out on the first day of the two-day state competition. This year, both teams will be at state looking to earn that elusive second day.
South won the Class 2A portion of the Huntley Sectional last weekend. The Gators’ sectional score was one of the best of Class 2A, leaving a distinct chance the team may be more than just performing for that second day, but there with a chance to win it.
“I’m excited for us to perform our best, while showing everybody what we have been working for this whole season,” South co-captain Zoe Hareng said. “This is the end goal and we’re here now. We weren’t expected to get this far like this, it’s amazing.”
Hareng co-captained a team with Sarah Walker that improved greatly from last season. The Gators gained even more confidence toward state after winning a highly competitive sectional with the other D-155 schools.
“It was a wonderful experience for the girls, they’ve looked forward to it all season and we didn’t come into the competition [Sectional] thinking we would come out on top. Our only goal was to make it State. It was such a great surprise to win,” South coach Lauren Stroman said.
Prairie Ridge missed out on state entirely last year. But after claiming the last qualifying spot at Huntley, the Wolves are looking to capture a top-10 place on day one of the competition.
“The girls are really dedicated and the whole experience has pushed us to be better,” Prairie Ridge coach Kristie Tyler said. “We definitely have a goal to get in the top-10 this weekend.”
The Wolves are the only team of the four D-155 schools that advanced to state to dance hip hop, doing so without a choreographer. These things both make the team proud and may be what separates them enough to advance to the next round.
Based on sectional results, Prairie Ridge is around 13th in terms of the 30 Class 2A schools competing. That means the Wolves will likely have to improve at least a little on their sectional score of 85.57 in order to reach Saturday.
All four D-155 schools will perform Friday at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington. South is scheduled to perform at 4:51 p.m., while Prairie Ridge takes the stage at 6:21 p.m.