Nazareth Academy junior Alice Buchman already is thinking about next competitive dance season.
The three-year varsity competitor from Riverside was part of the Roadrunners’ first back-to-back state berths on Jan. 27 as they finished 21st in IHSA Class 1A (74.30) in the program’s fourth state appearance overall.
“Now that we’ve been there for two years, we hope to improve way more for next year’s state. I can’t wait to see what next season holds,” Buchman said.
Nazareth team members are seniors Tatum Barbier, Margaret King, Olga Kondraros, Kayla Lopez and Sarah Newmann; juniors Claire Beresford, Taylor Black, Alice Buchman, Ava Hartschuh, Emma Heery and Faith Mouw; sophomores Ava Distel, Lia Jozwiak, Bella Madonia, Maria Nelson and Rosaria Ricchio; and freshmen Gabriella Imbarrato and Zoe Weiss. Kristen Yarka is head coach. Lopez, Barbier and Kondraros are team captains. Newmann lives in Brookfield.
Last season, Nazareth was 24th at state (73.18).
“This year, we had an idea of what we wanted. Being back was just really exciting,” Buchman said. “I feel like the team has improved and grown so much. We’re kind of like a family, supportive of each other.”
Lyons Township High School also returned to state and finished 22nd in Class 3A (83.47) in the Lions’ sixth consecutive state appearance.
The Lions’ team roster is Keira Boyd, Mya Campbell, Isabella DiGuilio, Abby Fix, Nora Foley, Hayden Frazier, Micaella Gennett, Lola Hennessy, Annie Ketchum, Kayla Lovelace, Zoe Mathis, Riley McCarthy, Sydney Michalak, Leah Mini, Macy Niemiec, Maddie Niemiec, Liliana Obert, Hallie Olenec, Gianna Ortega, Reilly Post, Olivia Rosenzweig, Audrey Schissler, Sarah Sedlacek, Liza Shorrock, Madeleine Shorrock, Simryn Singh, Kaitlin Storey and Brooke Walsh.
Needing top-six sectional finishes Jan. 21 to qualify for state, the Roadrunners were fifth at the Conant Sectional (80.73) and the Lions were fifth in their Warren Sectional (85.70).
Last year, the Roadrunners qualified with a lyrical routine, but this year excelled with a contemporary theme using Gloria Regali music.
Besides providing a school clap out before the dance team headed to Bloomington on Jan. 26, Nazareth students gathered in the school’s theater on Jan. 27 to watch a livestream of the team’s preliminary performance.
The Lyons Township High School competitive cheerleading team is headed back to the state meet.
The Lions (85.05 points) were fifth in the Coed Division at the Bradley Bourbonnais Sectional on Jan. 28 to earn the last team-qualifying spot.
At the Conant Sectional, Riverside-Brookfield High School (81.67) and Nazareth (80.47) were eighth and 11th, respectively, in the Medium Division.
In 2022, LTHS earned its first state berth and finished 22nd (84.23) in the Coed Division.