The Collierville High School and Collierville Middle School dance teams traveled to Disney World in Orlando last week looking to show how they stacked up with the best squads in the nation, and for Collierville Middle, the world.
Turns out they stack up really well.
The high school team, competing in the large school division, won a national title in hip-hop Saturday and finished in the top five in two other categories.
Collierville had finished in second place in hip-hop the last two seasons and fourth the year before that. It was the program’s first national hip-hop title.
All seven seniors on the squad have competed together for several years. None of them had won a national title since the eighth grade.
“It was quite an emotional roller coaster for all of us because they’ve wanted this since the eighth grade,” said Ashley McCullar, one of the team’s co-sponsors. “They’ve worked so incredibly hard for this. I get emotional just talking about it. It takes a lot of dedication. It means a lot.”
Fort Zumwalt West, a team from Missouri, beat out Collierville for the title last year. That team finished fourth this year. There were 16 teams competing for the title.
Terrance Moore, the team’s other co-sponsor, praised the effort of the girls and the expertise of coach Carol Lloyd.
“Just to see the growth of these dancers is amazing,” he said. “Ever since Carol has come on the teams have finished higher and higher. It’s a testament to her genius and creativity she has and just the belief of these girls in her as a coach and how she makes them believe in themselves. To have all this boil over into them winning a national title is just amazing. “
The team also took fifth out of 23 teams in the pom division and fourth among 26 teams in the game day event.
Teams competed at the ESPN Live World of Sports venue and the routines will be aired on ESPN in the coming days.
“To come here with that performance and win over judges the way they did is a testament to their hard work and judgement,” Moore said.
The Collierville Middle School dance team beat out teams from Argentina and China to win a world title in pom and won its first national title in the game day division while performing eight times over the weekend. They also finished third in the nation in pom and second in hip-hop.
“Many of our girls had never experienced being on a competition team so this was new for them,” said Letitia Sutherlen, who co-sponsors the team with Jodi Latimer. “They just loved it, every minute of it. Performing four times Saturday and four Sunday, that’s tough and they handled it perfectly. They just rocked it out and got it done.”
Collierville’s cheer squads will compete in Orlando for a national title next week.