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East Union Energizers win state dance tournament

East Union Energizers, from East Union High School in Afton, practice the novelty routine they presented at 
the state dance tournament Nov. 30 in Des Moines. The Energizers beat 12 other teams for first place in 
the novelty division.
East Union Energizers, from East Union High School in Afton, practice the novelty routine they presented at the state dance tournament Nov. 30 in Des Moines. The Energizers beat 12 other teams for first place in the novelty division.

The East Union Energizers were winners Nov. 30 at the state dance tournament in Des Moines. 

“They were so absolutely excited,” Energizers coach Melisa Crook said describing the team’s reaction. “They had worked just really hard. To know that that hard work paid off. They almost didn’t believe it because it felt so unbelievable to them.” 

The Energizers presented three routines at the competition; a light routine, a pom routine and a novelty routine. They won against 12 other schools with their novelty routine. 

“In novelty, for us, Mount Ayr was the runner-up,” Crook said. “They have secured many championships in novelty in the past, so beating them, for my girls, was just huge for them because they knew just how good Mount Ayr was.” 

Crook said she felt like the team would at least place, but she had no idea they might actually win until their name was called. 

“When they named off fifth and we weren’t there and then they named off fourth and we weren’t there, I thought, ‘We might have gotten third.’ I was thinking that’s about where we would be, and then they didn’t name us in third, so I was like, ‘Oh! Wow! We did even better than I thought,’” Crook said, describing her reaction as the names of each team that placed was called. 

“I knew it had gone over well because the judges were just smiling and laughing. The crowd was going crazy,” Crook said, “so I knew it was received really well. Then, when they named the runner-up, I felt this little plunk in my stomach, this little feeling of, ‘Oh, I really, I really thought we would place. Surely, surely, we didn’t win. But I guess I should keep an open mind.’ 

“There was a long pause after they named the runner-up, which was really bizarre,” she added. “And then they said our name. It was such a neat moment as a teacher and a coach to watch those girls just erupt from the floor.” 

The win is a tribute to the dedication and focus of the team. Because East Union is a small school, many of the girls on the Energizers team participate in other sports as well. Between all of their activities, countless hours are spent practicing routines and running drills.

Crook said it’s a matter of scheduling. After school hours are reserved for practice for team sports, such as volleyball and basketball, while the morning hours are set aside for more artistic based activities like dance. 

“We always pick Wednesday mornings because they do not have an actual meet or game on a Wednesday night,” Crook said. “I pick Monday mornings too because they typically don’t have as many events on a Monday.”  

The girls on the team are so dedicated and focused, Crook said, that they also practice during the Sunday open gym time even though it’s not required because they know that it’s important for them. 

With the state dance tournament behind them, the team will get back to their regular routine which includes entertaining the crowds at the boys’ basketball home games and preparing for a large showcase scheduled for April which will include performances by SWCC and Creston Peppers. 

“I’m so proud of these 11 girls. They are such busy, busy kids, and they were the ones leading the charge. They wanted to do well. They wanted to show their community what they could do, and they set the goal and they did it,” Crook said.

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