For the first time, the Yukon pom squad won the state championship in the 6A Large-School Pom Division with its performance Saturday at the State Pom Competition at Oklahoma City University.
The Yukon girls overcame adversity along the way, including having to wait an extra month to show off their dance and an extra couple of hours on the day of the competition due to a water leak.
The State Pom Competition was originally supposed to take place Dec. 8, but due to the forecasted inclement weather, it was moved to Jan. 5. Then, after a waterline leak Saturday morning at the Oklahoma City University gymnasium, the Yukon girls had to wait another several hours from their scheduled performance time to do their dance.
On top of those issues, Yukon was without one of their key performers. Senior Addison Meziere injured her hip at the end of the football season and had surgery on Dec. 27. Meziere is an All-Region performer, so her absence was an obstacle for Yukon to overcome.
None of the speed bumps along the way stopped them. The Yukon pom squad performed a flawless dance and not only won the state title but also was awarded the high point that goes to the team with the best pom dance score out of all the classes.
“It was challenging dealing with that extra time,” Yukon pom sponsor Rebecca Reape said. “Having to schedule more practices and figuring out who was going to be in town with the holiday break was difficult, but we made it work. It ended up being good for us. We were able to get four-hour block practices in on our dance. I actually had to leave after we performed because I had a wedding I had to get to, so I was on stand by waiting on that text. When I got it, I was so happy and proud of the girls. It was an amazing feeling.”
Yukon pom coach Whitney Duty said she was in tears when she found out the girls had won the state title.
“Tears instantly,” she said. “The girls were fabulous. I cried all weekend. Seeing their reaction and going through the challenge of the break was incredible. After I watched their performance, I felt that was it. They were amazing.”
Nationals next up
Instead of having a couple months to prepare for the national competition like normal years, the Yukon girls have three weeks.
Yukon will fly Jan.30 to Orlando and compete Feb. 1-3 in a three-day competition at Disney World.
“We are excited about nationals,” Duty said. “We can keep this momentum going, we have no time to rest. We are super excited about what we did Saturday, but we all know that we can do even better.”
Hearing from the seniors
Paige Clark on how it felt when she heard Yukon’s name called as state champs.
“Whenever we walked off the floor, I felt like we had danced the absolute best we could. After they said Jenks got second, we knew we were either first or fourth. Then, all the sudden you here your name and it just consumes you. We all wanted it so badly. We have been working so hard for that all year. We had our last practice the day before the competition and it was the best practice in my four years on the team. It gave us a peace of mind going into Saturday.”
August Bell on dealing with having to wait an extra month to perform.
“We just focused on using that month to our advantage. Each day was a new start for us. It was heartbreaking at first when we found it out it was postponed. No one knew what to think about it. We had worked so hard to just wait another month. Finally, when we got to perform, everyone felt so ready to do what we love, we knew what we had to do.”
Addison Meziere on being injured during the state competition and having to watch from the sidelines.
“It was a struggle because I wanted to be out there with them, but I got to cheer them on. It was heartbreaking being a senior and not being able to perform at my last state competition. I am very grateful that they won and I am very happy for them.”
Cassidy Lee on the process it took to get to being named state champions.
“We learned this dance for camp and we changed it a lot. The past couple of weeks, we have had people come in from past teams and around the state and give us honest feedback. It was good to get fresh eyes to look at us. This year, we trained really hard and had a different mindset. We were taught to see ourselves as champions and that’s what were able to go and do Saturday.”
Ashlyn Creach on the team staying focused for nationals.
“We have to stay hyped up. We have to make sure we work harder every day, so we can compete with all the other teams around the world. It was ecstatic winning state. There are no words. Us winning state put it in all of our minds that we can go do the same thing at nationals.”