Yukon High School pom sponsor Rebecca Reape has a saying she likes to use when she addresses her team.
“We use the phrase, ‘the work is worth it’ all the time,” she said. “The girls put in the work and met all of our goals for the year. It’s still a little surreal to be honest. It’s hard to put into words.”
The Yukon pom squad traveled to Orlando last weekend to compete in the Universal Dance Association National Competition at Disney World.
Yukon competed in the Large Pom Division and the new Game Day Division. Yukon took second in the Game Day Division and made the finals in the Large Pom Division and finished 11th overall.
“The girls loved the new Game Day category,” Reape said. “They loved being able to represent their school. We started to make a name for ourselves at the national competition. These girls started building a legacy.”
Yukon pom coach Whitney Duty said the tears have been flowing since the team performed in Orlando.
“I went back and watched our performance on video yesterday and started crying all over again. There have been many happy tears over the last week. These girls learned this pom dance last April and have done an amazing job with it. It’s sad to have to wrap up the dance.”
The impressive national performance followed the Dance Team Union regional championship the weekend before and the 6A Large Pom state championship in January.
Yukon’s success did not come without adversity. First, the squad lost its All-Region performer in senior Addison Meziere to a season-ending hip injury. Then, the state competition was moved back a month because of the potential of inclement weather in December.
On the day of the state competition, a water line broke in the Oklahoma City University gymnasium and forced another several-hour delay. In Orlando, one of the team members was ill and had to overcome her sickness to perform.
“I think these girls learned the importance of hard work,” Duty said. “We all are going to remember this journey and the relationships we developed along the way.”
Reape said this group has created a legacy for future teams.
“This is a program, not just a good team. Our goal is to be a strong program.”
Senior captain Paige Clark said this year has been a rollercoaster ride.
“This is a special team. I never would have imagined we would accomplish all these things in one year. Once we won state, I knew we could do something special at the national competition. We have started a legacy in the Game Day competition by finishing second. It is a big deal for us, very rewarding. It was great to be back in the pom finals. I will always look back and remember all the hard work that paid off and success we had.”
Junior Makenna Bell said its fun representing the school.
“We just wanted to channel our inner-Yukon. We were so prepared. We just lived in the moment. This will only make us work harder next year. Getting second in Game Day and making the finals was good. Now, we want to do better next year.”
Fellow juniors Kayla Goodgion and Trinity Benson talked about their experience in Florida and what they expect for the future.
“It meant a lot to win with this team,” Goodgion said. “We were very prepared. We knew we were going to do well. We are now motivated to do better in the pom finals and in the Game Day division next year. We know that feeling of taking second and feel like we can do even better to earn one more point.”
No one was nervous,” Benson said. “We were all really confident because we practiced a lot. I have really learned to be grateful for all the success we have had this year. It’s all really surreal. We will take what we learned this year and focus on getting even better.”
Here is the Yukon pom roster for the 2018-2019 school year:
KC Abernathy, August Bell, Makenna Bell, Trinity Benson, Addison Bodine, Brit Bogle, Maddie Bourne, Paige Clark, Kensey Cline, Taylor Cline, Ashlyn Creach, Snow Forth, Kayla Goodgion, Paisley Huffines, Cassidy Lee, Addison Meziere, Gracie Rundle, Lilly Ruzicka and Camdyn Terry.