Diamonds dance team takes on State


Lindsay Dodd, Feature Writer

While the football season has come to an end, the De Soto Diamonds dance team is headed to their State competition for the first time since its development in 2020. 

“I think this [State] is a really great opportunity especially since I didn’t get to do this in high school,” assistant coach Gabby Stephens said. “I think it’s awesome you get to experience it in person.” 

During the 2020 season, many things changed for each sport. For dance, the majority of the competitions were virtual, but something new was added to their plates; a State competition. 

“It was different because it was virtual, so you didn’t have the experience of actually performing for an audience,” junior Olivia Dodzilla said. “We also didn’t compete because the whole team had gotten quarantined.” 

Although last year looked much different, especially because the team was unable to compete, the team will be able to travel to the competition to compete with three routines. 

“We will be performing fight song, band dance, which is a combination of sidelines, and part of our competition pom routine,” Stephens said. 

During the Diamonds season, the team usually competes at three other competitions, with one of those being in December and the others being in January. Those competitions are much more technique-based, which is what makes the state competition a bit different. 

“It [State] is different than competitions in terms of how it is judged. It’s a lot more about the game-day feel as opposed to just the technical aspects of dance, so they’re looking for more crowd engagement,” head coach Anna Meissbach said. “Also competing a fight song and a sideline is a new thing,” 

Since this will be the first year the Diamonds perform at a State competition, there is a lot of preparation needed to succeed at the brand new event. 

“Practice, practice and more practice. We clean and then run it and clean more and run it and clean more and run it. We do count by count cleaning,” both Stephens and Meissbach said. 

The Diamonds practice every Monday and Thursday mornings from 6 to 7:20 a.m. and also on Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. as well as any additional practices added on by the coaches or request from the team. Even with this much preparation, the nerves are still high for the State Competition. 

“I’m excited to perform, but I’m scared that I might forget everything,” sophomore Morgan Bregel said. 

Although the team is very nervous about their upcoming performance at State, they are looking forward to being able to compete in person again. 

“It’s really cool to be a part of something like this and I think it’s great that dance is finally getting recognized and cheer at a State level. As new coaches I’m equal parts nervous and excited,” Meissbach said. 

The Diamonds will compete on Friday, Nov. 19 at the Stormont Vail Event Center located in Topeka at various times throughout the day. Altogether, the team is extremely excited to try something new in terms of competition.