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By Payton Janney, Xavier junior
The Xavier Poms arrived in Florida for National Dance Team competition late last month, competing their jazz and pom routines against groups from all over the United States.
The Poms qualified for Nationals during the summer when they went to a UDA Summer Camp. The team was able to go to the national competition because of a generous donation made by junior Charlie Dean’s grandfather, Al Ruffalo.
The semifinals were held at the Indiana Jones Theater/Arena on Feb. 1. The team finished in the top of the group for jazz and pom, which allowed them to advance to the finals.
“We worked incredibly hard for this all year,” senior Kristen Schuster said. “We gave both dances everything we had and did our best, which is all we can ever do.”
The finals were held on Feb. 2 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
“Performing in finals at the castle was incredible,” junior Clancy Hasse said. “We were all so excited and we left it all on the floor. The whole experience was indescribable and I’m so grateful for my team.”
It wasn’t all work and no play for Xavier’s Poms, however. They all spent their last day in Florida at Disney World soaking up all the heat before coming back to chilly Iowa.
“Taylor Fitzgerald and I went to go buy matching Disney backpacks which we were very excited to wear all around the parks,” senior Taylor Parker said.
All the dancers and their families also got Hollywood Studios to themselves for a party after their finals performance.
These girls are practically family, given how much time they have spent together. They have team dinners before every basketball or football game where they perform. They have team bonding and hang out at all of their competitions.
“Being there with a team who wants it as much as me is amazing and the best support I could ask for,” Dean said.
The Xavier Poms started and ended with an extraordinary season. They started their season at Westdale Mall, placing second, and ended with a 17th-place in pom and 18th-place in jazz at nationals.
“We gave our best, had fun, and made memories that will last a lifetime,” Schuster said.