Five times the fun
EAGLE COUNTY — Winning state titles never gets old. Just ask Vail Christian High School seniors Rachel Keith, Rocky Walden and Amanda Lingle.
The three seniors have been part of Vail Christian’s dance team all four years they’ve been in high school, and on Saturday they won their fourth state title, the team’s fifth straight.
Let that roll around in your cranium as you consider that no team you know has ever won five straight state titles — until now.
That means Walden, Keith and Lingle don’t know what it’s like not to hoist a championship trophy at the end of the state meet, and they never will. Someone will someday, but it won’t be them.
Walden fell asleep, cuddled up with the championship trophy.
And yes, they understand that winning isn’t everything, but it’s better than anything else you can do out there.
To win that fifth straight title, the Saints scored 15 points higher than they did last year. If they hadn’t, they would have lost and Limon would be the state champion.
Funny thing about Limon. Six years ago, Vail Christian finished second and Limon was the state champion. In the five years since, Vail Christian has been your champion and Limon has been second — for five straight years.
“We’re excited about the score, and that we were able to improve enough to win it again,” Walden said.
Keith won this year’s coach’s award for leadership in dancing.
Lingle, Walden and Keith helped Aili Thomas with the championship choreography.
“It was much more technical and demanding than it has been in years past,” Keith said.
It had to be better, because their competition is getting better, too.
This is coach Patti Carlson’s fifth year, and her fifth state title at Vail Christian. She got involved when her older daughter was on the team and they needed a coach.
“I figured I’d do it for a year,” Carlson said.
Carlson’s younger daughter is now a sophomore and is on the team, so Carlson said she’s sticking around.
Winning is good, she said, but there’s one thing better.
“The best part is watching these girls grow into young women,” Carlson said.
Every dance team that qualifies for state — there were 250 this year — is judged by the same criteria, which means you can get an apples-to-apples comparison. Vail Christian competes in 2A. Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain competed in 4A. However, if Vail Christian had competed in 4A, they’d still be on the podium. Their score was that good.
Perfect practice makes perfect
At Vail Christian, dance team practice starts in August and the season runs though March.
Championship Saturday started at 5:30 a.m. when the dancers rolled out of bed in their hotel to get their game faces on. In this case, game faces means makeup and hair. By 7 a.m. they were at the Denver Coliseum. They took the stage at 8:44 a.m. for their first performance. They stuck around to watch Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain.
“We never get to see them perform, and we were glad we did. They’re good,” Lingle said
Then the girls took a nap.
That afternoon, the dancers were back in the coliseum for the finals.
The results weren’t tabulated until about 10 p.m.
Like most competitions, the results are announced from back to front, so they had to wait through that, too, and as in years past it came down to Vail Christian and Limon.
The three seniors said one of the toughest parts of the day was not going off like a rocket when the judges announced Limon was second — again. That meant they won — again.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.