J’ettes repeat at IDTA State

Claire Van Aken, staff writer

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The Jacksonville J’ettes took back their state titles at the IDTA State Finals on February 9, 2019. After setting the bar high at IHSA State, the team came together one last time to recreate their victories of 2018 and make Jacksonville proud.

As they did at IHSA State, the J’ettes performed their Pom/Dance routine for the IDTA judging staff. IDTA categorizes the teams differently than IHSA, as in school size. The J’ettes were put into Double A instead of Single A. This gave the Jacksonville dance team an opportunity to shine in individual categories as well.

They performed their AA Lyrical/Contemporary routine first on the big day. Co-captain Sara Wilson said, “This dance was definitely the team’s most difficult task this season. We were up against the undefeated team in Lyrical.” The J’ettes were up against Highland High School, who haven’t lost in AA Lyrical/Contemporary in 12 years. The team broke their streak, which was a major accomplishment. Highland’s routine was exceptional as well. This dance, titled “Alive,” was a moment for the girls to tell an important story about going through struggle, redemption, overcoming fears, and beating the odds. Luckily, their routine was extremely coincidental for them. The J’ettes did just that.

Next, the girls competed their AA Pom/Dance routine, in which they were coming back to claim their title from last year. Coach Tiffany Hickox has been coaching for 18 years, the longest running J’ette coach in history. Her expertise in Pom/Dance plays a big role in their stellar performances. Everyone in the building watched carefully and quietly as the J’ettes took the floor in their stunning red costumes with black and gold poms in hand. Their theme this year was based off of prayer. Madonna’s greatest hits and Bon Jovi were featured in the mix, which had the entire crowd excited and entertained. Needless to say, the team’s prayers were answered.

Lastly, the girls lined up for the parade of champions and waited to take the floor at the end of the night. They posed for a final picture together and anxiously waited for their categories to be called. First, they announced A Pom/Dance in which the J’ettes took home, yet again, another State Championship. Co-Captain Sarah May exclaimed, “It really does feel like a dream. We worked so hard.” May was a first-year co-captain alongside of Sara Wilson. She says it was such a reward being able to repeat the team’s success of last year. They also earned their first ever State title in AA Lyrical/Contemporary and earned the high point award for AA. This award means the J’ettes had the highest score of all AA routines of the day.

The ladies on the team will be recognized at the State Capitol building in March on behalf of Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer, and Jacksonville’s Buffalo Wild Wings is hosting a celebratory dinner for the team as well as showing their title winning routines on the big screens. The team is extremely grateful for the community support!