Poms qualifies for IHSA state


Varsity poms team strikes a pose during a competition (Steve Martin).

Mia Bonfiglio, Reporter

After qualifying for IHSA state for the first time in LT competitive dance team history last year, varsity poms has much to live up to this season. They also won first place and a High Point Award at the Illinois Drill Team Association (IDTA) state competition last year. The team officially began competing on Oct. 22.

“This season so far has been a really good learning curve in how to adapt to big and new changes we weren’t already used to,” Andee Mazurowski ‘19 said.

The team dance in competitions every weekend leading up to IHSA State on Jan. 25 and 26 and IDTA State on Feb. 9. They travel to several different high schools around the suburbs to compete.

“This year a lot is different,” Sarah Tobin ‘20 said. “The dynamic of the team is different too. There are a lot of underclassmen, but it’s still a lot of fun.”

Head varsity coach Brittany Knickelbein previously coached at the JV level for six years and this is her first year coaching varsity. The previous poms teams had approximately 15 girls, however this year’s team has 22 girls, Tobin said. There are also freshmen allowed on varsity this year, which was restricted in previous years.

“We are hoping to qualify for the state competition again, making it to the second day of state would be amazing,” Knickelbein said. “My goals are to continue to create a well rounded spirited and competitive dance team for LT and make a name for us as an IHSA sport.”

This year the team learned their routine fairly late into the season, Tobin said. They only had a few weeks to perfect it before their first competition that occured in December. Despite the time challenge, the team did very well. Their routine is used throughout the whole season at competitions.

“The team is super energetic,” Sarah Tobin ‘20 said. “At practice we always get a lot done because everyone is very motivated.”

Along with competing, the team also performs at the basketball games and will be performing at the all school assembly in February.

“Normal practices are a break from reality so we can focus on the dance, perfecting it and still having some fun with friends,” Mazurowski said. “We aren’t afraid to correct each other and we work together towards the same goal of making it to state.”

The main focus of practice is working on the competition routine, Tobin said. Half of the team’s practice time is spent working on the routine being performed at the next basketball game and the other half of practice is spent on perfecting the competition routine. The basketball halftimes switch every week and are typically jazz routines they learned over the summer.

For state, the team goes through the dance, cleaning up every section, Mazurowski said. This often means moving to every position and making sure they all look exactly the same.

“I would describe the team as a family because we are all so supportive of each other and push each other to not only be better dancers but better people,” Mazurowski said. “We spend so much time together that one day off feels like a month apart.”