St. Charles North’s drill team practiced in the school cafeteria after classes in the hopes of delivering in a venue designed to accommodate the movement and acoustics of competitive dance.
With their arms locked and their voices hoping to scream, North still learned of Saturday’s triumphs at the Team Dance Illinois state championships at Peoria’s Carver Arena with bated breath.
“Everyone always asks that question about expectations whenever we get back from state, and every year it’s a nail-biter,” North Stars senior Allie Isabelli said. “You never know what the judges are going to do. There’s a lot of shaking and crunched hands, but you kind of accept that whatever happens, happens and you put your best foot on the floor.”
North placed first in Lyrical and third in Open Dance in Class 3A, completing a season that included the IHSA’s first foray into offering a competitive dance state championship.
That event, held Jan. 25 and 26, came at a time when the North Stars were designed to be progressing in their routines, not peaking.
“Gosh, it’s been an interesting season,” North coach Nancy Prentiss said. “We felt like we did better than we showed at [IHSA] state. It was nice that we are able to be recognized with TDI, because the girls are very talented.”
Michelle Vezina, Monique Perdue, Audra Stapella, Lindsey Niemann, Jamie Beaulieu, MaryKate Purcell, Alison Meisenheimer, Colleen Lullo, Alyssa Arroyo, Quinn Samanic, Isabel Miller and Megan Spaniol joined Isabelli on the varsity team.
Perdue and Vezina – former classmates at Haines Middle School – were the other seniors. Isabelli, who plans to study biochemistry and pre-med at Vanderbilt, said Perdue is looking to try out for the Golden Girls competitive dance team as she enrolls at Missouri.
Whether it was practicing their routine songs – Sia’s “Breathe Me” provided the soundtrack to North’s winning Lyrical dance – or simply hanging out, Isabelli, Perdue and Vezina formed a unique bond.
“The three amigos,” Isabelli said. “It’s been a really fun time becoming really close with them. I don’t think that we’re going to be able to get through the rest of the year without seeing each either other at least once a day. And that goes for the whole team.”
• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a look at other finishes from Chronicle-area teams at the TDI state meet:
St. Charles East (second in Lyrical, fourth in Open Dance, 3A)
Batavia (second in Open Pom, third in Open Dance, 2A)
Geneva (second in Lyrical, fifth in Open Dance, 2A)
St. Francis (fourth in Lyrical, 2A)
Aurora Central Catholic (second in Hip Hop, third in Lyrical, 1A)