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Strutters win state championship against challenging odds


Last updated 3/10/2015 at Noon

The Bridge City Strutters competed at Crowd Pleasers Texas State Contest this past weekend at Cy-Falls High School, Houston, Texas and won Grand Champions (State Champions) in medium category, according to Director Cathy Riley.

Their team awards included State Champs in novelty, kick, prop, modern, and open, and they were awarded outstanding precision as well as State Champions in highest grade point average.

The Strutter officers also won State Champions in novelty and open and awarded first runner-up in medium category.

The Bridge City Strutters Competition Team consists of Captain Chassadi Decker, 1st Lt. Kristen Young, Lt. Raven Cormier, Lt. Grace Gaspard, Lt. Sydney Billington, Maura Terrell, Jessica Green, Chelsea Savoy, Kylie Castaneda, Destin Thomas, Elissa Horner, Chelsey Chaffin, Avery Harris, Lauren Guidry, Madison Esquivel, Mia Woodruff, Lyvia Ebarb, and Chelse Cisneros.

Riley also told of an interesting story that happened to the team.

She said one of her senior dancers was diagnosed with the flu last Wednesday and could not compete; therefore, the dances were reset.

On Thursday, one of her junior dancers was diagnosed with the flu and could not compete; therefore, she reset the dances again. Thursday night, one of her freshmen was taken to the ER, but she did not know about this until the day they left for contest.

Friday morning, her captain was diagnosed with the flu and could not compete.

“I called the contest representatives and told them we would be short three dancers, and they stated that we had to stay in medium category (according to our original roster) even though we should have competed in small category,” Riley said. “The rep. stated that she would tell the judges, and we could just 'have holes in our dances.' I stated, 'I don't do holes - I'll reset the dances again.'

“Once we arrived at our hotel, I asked the manager for a meeting room so we could reset the dances again; this time, eight dances had to be reset which included the officer dances. For three hours, we worked on new formations and reassignments.”

On Saturday morning, she told the team that they were her "FIGHTING FIFTEEN" - although Riley really had only 14 dancing because one of her juniors hurt her foot last week after coming down from a stunt. She was on crutches - another reset!

“I felt as though we were the underdogs going into this contest because these dancers never knew where they would be placed the next day. I am so proud of their work ethics, positive attitudes, and their compassion to help each other improve on a daily basis,” Riley said. “Even after so many obstacles being thrown our way, these young ladies possessed determination and a drive to push through adversity. When God is in control, there is always a silver lining.”

If that wasn't impressive enough, seven Strutters, four Strutter escorts, their director, and their families (a group of 26 people ) are bound for Ireland to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Kilgore Rangerettes, she said.

The Rangerettes and the Rangerette Forevers have already arrived in Scotland and will meet with the All Stars (high school dancers) in Ireland this week. Part of the celebration includes a Hooley which is a banquet in honor of the Rangerettes.

The Strutters will be participating in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin and performing as All Stars with the Rangerettes at the National Football Game (Soccer) that evening. The group will be touring castles and major sites in Ireland for nine days.

Photo - The Strutters celebrate after learning they won the State Championship. They are now on their way to Ireland to participate in the St. Patrick's Day parade and will perform with the Rangerettes at a National Football game (soccer).


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