HUNTLEY – At the beginning of the dance season, Huntley’s chances of competing for a state championship by season’s end seemed implausible. After all, they were nowhere to be found last year in the winner’s circle.
All that has changed. The Fox Valley Conference champions now are sectional champions. And to be frank, these Red Raiders won the sectional Saturday night quite comfortably.
“It hasn’t sunk in,’’ Huntley senior Amanda Czarnota said. “This was our seniors’ last competition and we didn’t want to end. This is Huntley history right here.”
Huntley history will continue this weekend in Bloomington in the IHSA state dance competition. And Huntley will have some company for this trip. Jacobs finished third and also qualified for the trip. The top-six finishers qualified for a state visit. The state adventure could last two days.
Officially, Huntley won the event with a score of 91.0. Warren was second (88.03), Jacobs finished with an 87.93, fourth place went to South Elgin (87.6), Mundelein was fifth (87.3) and the sixth team was Barrington (86.93).
Czarnota’s teammate, Melanie Naranjo, said her team’s practices helped prepare them for the big day.
“Last year, we were underdogs,’’ Naranjo said. “We all sat and talked about it and we all really wanted it. There are some really good teams here. I wonder if this is really happening.”
Kayleigh Cosden of Jacobs noted her team never gave up hope.
“I’m so happy,’’ Cosden said. “We have such good character and we never stop working. When we were done, the audience was amazing.”
Jacobs coach, Allison Preston, applauded her team’s spirit.
“We really came out with more energy,’’ Preston said.
Preston is in her ninth season coaching dance and is a big fan of this group.
“This is the classiest team,’’ she said. “They love each other and support each other. I really look up to them.”
Jacobs senior, Lauren Rebodos, noted the hard work her team has put into this event.
“I was really hopeful tonight,’’ Rebodos said. “We have really worked hard and had a lot of emotion. We left everything on the floor.”
And now her team is heading to Bloomington.
“It’s been such an amazing season,’’ Rebodos said. “This is the best team I’ve been on.”
As the winner of the Huntley Sectional, the Red Raiders should be in a good position to do something special at state.
“There were so many great teams here,’’ said Huntley coach Chrissy Amling. “But we wanted it really bad. Once we got on the floor, the attitude and showmanship was there.”
Waiting for the announcement of the winner of this sectional wasn’t easy for the home team.
“I was scared,’’ Amling said. “But we were in it to win it. This is a hard-working team. It’s a strong family.”