When the Morris poms team took off last week for a four-day Universal Dance Association (UDA) camp in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, they were headed there under new leadership.
Megan Carlson has taken over the reins as head coach, as former coach Becky Bernardi stepped down to start a family. Carlson and her squad didn't miss a beat, as the Redskins were awarded a Superior Trophy, which earned them a bid to the national competition at the end of the poms season. In order to win the Superior Trophy, the team must earn all blue ribbons during the camp. Each dancer is rated in two dances and the team is rated as well. Morris was able to earn blue ribbons in every rating and got the Superior Trophy.
"We started coming to this camp four years ago," Carlson said. "It's an elite camp, so it's more intense, the best of the best. The routines are harder and it's more fast-paced. And, the girls go to a master class, which is taught by people from all over the United States. Our master class teacher runs a show in Las Vegas and works in the dance industry. The girls couldn't help but learn from someone like that. It was awesome."
The six Morris seniors on the squad - Mackenzie Eber, Maddie Olson, Grace Larson, Chloee Hansen, Anna Benson, and Haley McDonald - all earned All-American recognition.
"In order to make All-American, the girls had to show up a half-hour to 45 minutes early," Carlson explained. "They learned routines in hip hop, poms and jazz, and then came up with their own skills and techniques to incorporate into those routines. They went three at a time, and all of our girls were selected.
"It's a big honor. The All-Americans are invited to go to Rome and be in the UDA parade in November or December."
The Morris team also won the Team Full-Out award for their elite performance, which was the first time they have won that award.
Other members of the Morris poms team at the camp were juniors Mara Punke, Macy Rodgers, Izzy Hess, and Janette Ringer, sophomore Emily Lindenborn, and freshmen Alexa Edwards, Maddi Pinch, Jenna Siegal, and Chloe Jany. Freshman Emma Selock is also on the team, but could not attend the camp due to studying in New York with the Joffery Ballet.
Morris Poms Fall Clinic: The Morris Redskin Pom Squad is currently putting together their second annual fall pom clinic, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 9:30 a.m. at the high school. This is a great opportunity for your child to work with some of the most talented dancers in the state of Illinois who have captured statewide recognition for the past several years. Many of these dancers have earned the title of IHSA State Runners Up the past three years and are nationally ranked. Each dance team member is an excellent role model for a child. Our program prides itself on promoting a positive experience for all those involved. The clinic participants will be taught routines and perform them at a sophomore football halftime. Jr. High dancers will be able to walk the track with the Varsity Poms during the pregame of the Varsity Football game. The clinic performance will be on Friday, Sept. 14, so save the date!