Vail Christian’s dance team wins its fourth straight state title | VailDaily.com

Vail Christian’s dance team wins its fourth straight state title

Vail Christian High School's dance team won its fourth straight title. They are, from left, Belle Carlson, Emma Cerovich, Generose Angarola, Sophia Branden, Barbara O’Brien, Rachel Keith, Larkin Smith, Amanda Lingle, Rocky Walder, Grace Nern, Sarah Sweet, Hope Gonzalez, Jessica Richie, Adie Lengel, Zeiri Cortes.
Special to the Daily |

Larkin Smith, the only senior Vail Christian High School’s fourth straight state champion dance team, picked the team’s Bible verse, Joshua 1:9.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

EDWARDS — Larkin Smith just smiles humbly when you point out that she’s one of the world’s only four-time state champions.

Four times Smith has competed with Vail Christian High School’s dance team for a state title, and four times she has helped hoist the championship trophy.

Vail Christian’s dance team won its fourth-straight state title.

And if you get the notion that their run is done, you’re probably wrong. Smith is the team’s only senior.

“It feels like it shouldn’t happen to anyone, but it has,” Smith said. “Every year the competition is so hard and every win meant something special.”

Five Saints danced at this year’s states who had never danced with the team before.

“We’re ever changing because everyone up to now has cycled out,” Smith said. “It’s amazing we can pull it together every year.”

Dancing champs

The Saints had a dozen dancers on the floor at the same time, a big group.

“You don’t get extra credit for having a big team, and you run the risk of having more mistakes. But these girls were flawless,” said Patti Carlson, the Saints coach.

Four times VCHS has won. Four times Limon has finished second, including this year.

“They played it safe and we took the risk, and we won,” Carlson said.

The saying goes, bad last rehearsal, great show.

“The last practice is always the hardest, and this one really was,” Carlson said.

Emotions and tensions were high and they ended up screaming at each other in their final practice before states. God does lots of things, including healing wounded hearts, and they got through it.

They were perfect in their state title performance, when they had to be.

“It always works together because we always do it for the glory of God. And that’s what has helped us,” said Rachel Keith, one of the team’s co-captains.

Working toward excellence

Mediocrity is easy. Excellence takes work, and work begets success.

They start practice in August. Open gyms during the summer are “optional.” The season can run through April.

“During states week we practice all the time,” Keith said.

At the state tournament, their entire performance lasted about two and a half minutes.

Any mistake can cost you your title shot, and any of their delightful dozen could have made one in their state performance.

No one did.

Assistant coach Aili Thomas choreographed this year’s state title performance. Carlson’s daughter Caroline is a 2010 Vail Christian graduate and former dance team member. Caroline choreographed all three previous state titles.

Vail Christian not only won the day but opened it as well when Sarah Sweet and Emma Cerovich sang the national anthem.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.