The Bluejay varsity dance team made the best of a fourth consecutive trip to the WACPC State Dance Team Championship at the LaCrosse Center in LaCrosse on Feb. 6, competing in the D2 division.
The girls captured the state title in Hip Hop by more than 20 points, beating out 14 other teams that qualified out of their regional. It was Merrill’s first state title in dance. They placed sixth in Jazz.
This was the second straight year Merrill qualified in two disciplines (High Kick and Hip Hop in 2015), and the Jays were the state runner-up in Hip Hop last year.
Merrill’s Ally Gustke made the 2016 WACPC All State Team. More than 50 dancers auditioned and only nine were chosen.
Team members include: seniors Ally Gustke (Capt.), Haley Beyer, Mckenzie Broecking, Molly Roman, Cassie Schulz; juniors Kelsey Amelse, Samantha Brandenburg, Calle Johnson, Caitlyn Kolehouse, Sara Skoug; sophomores Allyson English, Shania Hornischer; freshmen Sydney Brandenburg, Jillian English, Rebecca Leander, Mackenzie Massa, McKenna Meunier, Makayla Nelson, Mary Pawlicki, Lydia Rosengren, Nora Trapp; Managers Cassandra Chism (Sr.), Taylor Jahnke (Jr.); and Coaches Dorinda Gustke, Sheila Mueller, Lynette Trapp, Jena Brandenburg.
The WACPC is affiliated with the WIAA.
“The team would like to thank their family, fans, Merrill High School, parents and the community for believing in them and the ‘Chance to Dance!’ “Coach Dorinda Gustke commented.
The team was welcomed home by a Police and Firetruck escort through Merrill on Saturday night, and celebrated with an assembly on Monday morning at MHS.
Team scores– Hip Hop– Merrill 425.5, Pewaukee 403.5, New Berlin West 360, Campbellsport 352, Plymouth 350.5…….Jazz– Prescott 410.5, Waupaca 409, New Berlin Eisenhower 404.5, Onalaska 403, Aquinas 368.5, Merrill 357.
The teams’ next performances are Friday, Feb. 19. This is also Kids Camp, Senior Night and Autograph Night.
The last state championship MHS captured came in 1993, in team wrestling.