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BHS Dance sweats out Briarcrest effort, grabs program’s first-ever state title

The performance of Memphis Briarcrest unnerved some Bearden Lady Bulldogs at the TSSAA Dance Team State Championships Dec. 5 in Murfreesboro.

But Bearden's two-minute performance, following Briarcrest, was cool and calm enough to win a state crown in Small Varsity Pom — the first-ever state championship in the program's roughly 20-year history.

Senior co-captain Kelsey Parkman, a three-year BHS team member, said the state championship “was the biggest and best thing that's ever happened to us.”

Upon arriving in Murfreesboro, Parkman said, “I was definitely doubtful because we had a lot of competition. But when they called out our name for first it was the most amazing feeling.”

Savannha Stelling, senior co-captain, said Briarcrest “came out and did a really good job” prior to BHS's performance.

“We weren't really expecting it, so we saw them compete and it made us all really nervous because we knew that we gave it all that we had,” she said. “When they called their name second, I can probably speak for the whole team — it was the best feeling that we've ever had,” she added.

Stelling said the state crown “is definitely the biggest thing” during her three years on the team.

“To finally accomplish our goal, especially when I'm a senior, is just an amazing feeling because you have all the hard work that you put into it, and all the time, that really paid off,” she added. “It's what we've all been dreaming about.”

Other team members are senior captain Megan Weiss and senior co-captain Melody Marnon. Juniors are Della Alles and Kobi Peters.

Sophomores are Season Guffey, Leah Pearl, Emily McInturff, Katie Goddard, Kylie White, Hannan Slate and Samantha Schriver. Freshmen are Maddie Leupke and Deanna Markelonis.

Sarah Rogers, BHS head coach in her second season, said her girls “have been wanting this for a long time, and putting in lots of work.

“It's a lot more work than people realize,” she added. “They've worked hard, and they deserve it.”

About the Briarcrest threat, Rogers admitted, “We were a little bit nervous.”

Other teams in Bearden's Varsity Pom division included Knoxville West, Lexington, Greenbrier, St. Agnes, St. Mary’s and Station Camp.

Faculty team sponsors Tammy Smith, Angelia Ford and Christi Lechner eagerly pointed out team members throughout program history have maintained a collective grade point average roughly around 3.5.

Universal Dance Association National Championships are next for Bearden, in early February, at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

The trip was earned based on Bearden’s UDA summer camp Small Varsity Pom performance at The University of Tennessee.


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