Sweet victory for the J’ettes

Sydney Hembrough, Staff Writer

In the midst of competition season, the Jacksonville J’ettes varsity team competed at the IHSA 1A Sectional competition in Mascoutah this past weekend. This was a new adventure for the team. Before this season, the J’ettes had never competed in IHSA. Previously competing in Team Dance Illinois and Illinois Drill Team Association, the J’ettes were advised to compete in the Illinois High School Association competitions along with Illinois Drill Team Association competitions this season. They did not necessarily know what to expect but accepted the challenge with open minds.

For those that are not aware of how these kinds of competitions work, IHSA and IDTA are very different. With IDTA, teams are allowed to bring up to three routines to each competition. They must receive a high enough score to advance to the IDTA state finals which will take place on February 10. All of the dances are separated by class and style. For example, the J’ettes compete in two categories this year: 1A pom dance and 1A hip hop. They receive placements within these categories. IHSA, however, is very different. Each team is only allowed to bring one routine to each competition, and unlike IDTA and sister companies, IHSA combines all styles for placements. This means that out of all of the 1A routines, no matter the style, the J’ettes had to place in the top six in their division of 17 teams at sectionals to advance to the semifinals on Friday, January 26.

At sectionals on January 20, the J’ettees took their thunder-themed pom dance routine to battle for the top six places. Their performance was energy packed and full of personality. As the awards ceremony started and the advancing teams were announced, tensions were high and palms were sweaty. The J’ettes had competed in two regional IHSA competitions earlier in the season, but their placement up until this point was still unknown. Anything could happen. They were pretty confident in their performance, but as the 6th place, 5th place, and 4th place teams were announced, they didn’t really know where they stood. When Jacksonville was not called as 2nd place, the J’ettes held their breath. Luckily, their efforts finally paid off when they received 1st place out of 17 teams, giving them the opportunity to compete in the state semifinals and finals in Bloomington this upcoming weekend, January 26-27.

The J’ettes will make the trip to Bloomington early Friday morning to compete in the semifinals at 12:43 p.m. Energy will be high as the school is providing a fan bus to cheer on the girls at this important event. If the J’ettes place within the top 12 out of 30 1A teams, they will advance to the finals on Saturday. As their score is right now, Jacksonville is currently ranked 5th in the state. After reviewing past years’ results, it is apparent that scores and placements can fluctuate significantly when scores are as close as they are at the top. Good luck to the J’ettes this weekend…make us proud, and show ‘em what you’ve got!