By Magen McCrarey
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
South Laurel Middle's Dance Team broke a Laurel County record last week and won a Universal Dance Association (UDA) national title. The girls rode into school on Tuesday morning on a City of London fire truck as the entire school cheered them on as the Junior High Kick National Champions.
"This is the first time in Laurel County that any dance team has won UDA nationals," said Bettina Rogers, head coach for the team.
Rogers has been coaching the team for eight years and said she couldn't be more proud of her girls. South Laurel Middle's Dance Team has not only won nationals this year, but also gained the title of Kentucky Dance Coaches Organization Overall Middle School Grand Champions, took first place in the Pom Division as well as first place in the Open Division, JAMfest Dance Grand Champions, and were the 2013 Big Blue Cheer and Dance Challenge Grand Champions.
"I believe that they danced with all their hearts and souls on that stage and I'm thankful for the support from our school, administration and their parents," Rogers said.
"Their dance was perfection, it was just incredible…it was flawless," added Assistant Coach Jo Anna Sizemore.
The team of six eighth graders, seven seventh graders and one sixth grader took form in March following try-outs. The girls practiced for the national competition five days a week for approximately three hours, and sometimes four, Sizemore said.
"It means the world to me to get to spend five days a week with my dance sisters, not only my sisters in dance, but my sisters in Christ," said Megan Ford, an eighth grade dance team member.
"I feel that our win was deserved, for all the hard work we've done. But I also have to give all the glory to God for keeping us safe as we go. I'm so thankful for all of these girls for how we've been spending our time together and how we've stuck together as a team — and not just as a team, but as a family," said Hannah Sears, an eighth grade dance team member.
Six eighth graders will be moving on to high school next year, vacating their spots on the award winning dance team. Coach Rogers says try-outs will begin this March.