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2019 Cascade High School Dance Team: (From left) Lily Keenlance, Olivia Ries, Madeline Manternach, Lauren Johnson, Samantha Recker, Erin Knipper, Tessa Hill, Lacie Cook, Addy Supple.

Cascade’s dance team will compete in two categories at the Iowa State Dance/Drill Team Association’s state competition, Thursday, Dec. 5, in Des Moines. Both of the Cougars’ dances will be performed in Hy-Vee Hall. The awards ceremony is scheduled to start at approximately 8 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.

After not competing a year ago (due to a lack of numbers), the Cougars are back in full force, with a roster of nine dancers. Seniors Samantha Recker and Erin Knipper anchor the squad which includes juniors Lauren Johnson and Tessa Hill, sophomore Madeline Manternach, and freshmen Addy Supple, Lacie Cook, Olivia Ries and Lilly Keenlance.

“It’s really exciting to be back,” said Recker. “The best part is getting to perform at state again this year. We all get along so well and have come together as a team. It’s like a big family.”

Cascade will perform in Class VI Pom with nine other schools: Missouri Valley, Treynor, Colfax-Mingo, Pleasantville, MVAOCOU (Maple Valley), South Hamilton, Sioux Central, Wilton and East Sac County.

The theme of the Cougars’ pom routine is Champions, dancing to a mix of champion music, with the competition scheduled for 8 a.m., Dec. 5.

“We decided to do a champion routine this year because we weren’t able to compete at state last year due to not having enough dancers,” said Claire Brown, who coaches the team along with Bridget Melloy. “This year we wanted to come back and remind everyone that we are back and better than ever and we are working hard to claim our champion title.”

Cascade’s hip hop routine is 80s themed, and the Cougars will perform to “Safety Dance” at 9:34 a.m., in Class III against Tri-Center, Maquoketa Valley, Hinton, North Union, North Cedar, West Sioux, Iowa City Regina, Bellevue, West Monona, Missouri Valley and South O’Brien.

“This is very different than anything we’ve ever done before,” said Brown. “Our costumes are very fun and mimic what someone in the 80s would wear.”

“This team has worked very hard to come back on top. Even though they range in age from freshmen to seniors, they all connect very well together,” said Brown. “They have been putting in hours of time in and outside of practice since May.”

This Cascade team has big goals and has what it takes to bring home the gold.

“We have great leadership from our upperclassmen,” Brown said. “They have pushed our younger girls to do their best at every practice and leave it all on the floor.”

“We’re hoping to bring home two first-place awards,” added Recker.

Not only will the Cougars look to make the best of their appearance in Des Moines, but they will also be competing at the national level in Florida in February 2020.

“We’ll be competing with the best top-level schools,” said Brown. “We can’t wait to see how these girls continue to push themselves to see how they can do at the national level.”