EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Vail Christian High School's dance team won its second straight state title and learned something along the way.
The second title requires as much work as the first, and it's just as sweet.
"It was very exciting," said Patti Carlson, who coaches the team along with Caitlin Mutter.
First and foremost
Vail Christian performed first, 8:30 a.m. that Saturday morning. That's awfully early to sparkle that much.
"We were up at 5 in the morning, but it was worth it," said Allison Carlson, a senior and co-captain with Mimi Naray.
They finished and spent much of the morning watching the rest of the teams they were competing against.
It wasn't until everyone else was done that they learned had no deductions. They knew nothing about the other teams except what they'd seen, and that they were good, Allison said.
"There was the pressure of going first, but it worked out well," Allison said.
Allison is used to it. This is her fourth year on the teamand she's been to state all four years.
"You know what the judges are looking for and who the other teams are, so that helps. But it didn't help with butterflies. Not at all," Allison said.
Caroline Carlson (yup, they're sisters) did the choreography. She's a 2010 VCHS grad and the routine she designed is not for the faint of heart, or dancers who are faint of foot.
Vail Christian's dance team had a pretty good idea how difficult it was, but they did it anyway.
Any mistake can cost you your title shot, and anyone can make one.
No one did.
At the state championships they performed it perfectly.
"It takes much more athleticism than meets the eye," Patti Carlson said.
At the state tournament, their entire performance lasted about two and a half minutes. But saying they won a state title in 150 seconds is like saying Muhammad Ali won the heavyweight boxing title in the three minutes it took him to knock out Sonny Liston.
They practice four days a week, two hours a day, and their season runs from August to March.
"That's normal. As the states approached they worked much harder," Carlson said.
They perform for football, basketball and volleyball games, during their own tournaments through the school year and just about any other time someone needs a halftime show.
"It's a long season," Carlson said.
"After all that practice over all those months, it comes down to that one performance," Patti said. "The girls were awesome. They did a two and a half minute dance. They did a lot of dancing in a very short time."
Dance is a sport, Carlson said. You have winners and losers. Winners find a way to be successful; losers don't.
Dance and cheer teams offer a chance for high schoolers to compete outside the more traditional sports, she said
And like anything else, being mediocre is easy. Excellence takes work, Carlson said, like the excellence Vail Christian showed in winning two straight state titles.
What do you do after you win your second straight title? Start practicing for the third. That's where we found them Monday afternoon.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.