Evergreen Park’s competitive dance team performs a routine that vaulted the Mustangs to sixth in the state on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Evergreen Park’s competitive dance team performs a routine that vaulted the Mustangs to sixth in the state on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Competitive Dance State Finals | Evergreen Park has sixth sense again

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

BLOOMINGTON — For the second straight year, Evergreen Park’s competitive dance team qualified for the second day of state competition.

For the second straight year, the Mustangs were the first team to perform on the second day.

And for the second straight year, they finished sixth in the state in Class 1A.

The Mustangs were the lone area team to advance to the second day and finish in the top 12. They scored an 85.64 to finish sixth at the IHSA state meet, held Jan. 27-28 at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

Evergreen Park finished 10th in the preliminary round with an 81.20 and ratcheted it up in the second round.

“This season has been just amazing,” Mustangs coach Marion Castillo said. “It’s amazing that they took conference this year and were sectional champions. It’s just another stepping-stone.”

“We love making history for our school,” senior Kristen Smith said. “We’ve only been doing this for four years. It hasn’t been as long as other teams.

“We didn’t grow up in the studio. We started in high school with our amazing coach and thank God for that. It’s really been an honor working with my coach.”

 

EP2 scaled

Evergreen Park’s dance team members listen for the announcements of the judge’s scoring at the IHSA state meet in Bloomington. Photo by Jeff Vorva

 

Other dancers on the Mustangs were Grace Koziczkowski, Aaliyah Frazier, Sofia Esquivel, Cathalina Castellanos, Jameia Sharp-Brown, Britnii Johnson, Jaqueline Ordaz, Jordan Johnson, Emani Johnson, Chloe Reed, Mikaela Bolden, Taylor Hawkins and Carlina Scott.

Last year, the squad gave an intense performance featuring dark and scary costumes. This year, the intensity was still there, but the Mustangs chose attire that made it look like they were ready to challenge the rest of the field in a softball game.

“We tried to bring out more color and project more on the floor,” Castillo said. “We switched up a bit to be a little more noticeable.”

As for being the first team on the floor on the second day for two straight years, that was not their preference. But the Mustangs made the most of it.

“We got the crowd jumping, for sure,” Smith said. “They were jumping up and jumping up.”

Five other teams from the area qualified for state but could not make it to the second day.

In Class 3A, Lyons was 22nd with an 83.47. Sandburg claimed 25th with an 82.92.

In Class 2A, Argo claimed 18th with an 81.23. Marist took 30th, receiving a 77.02 score.

Nazareth finished 21st in Class 1A with a 74.30.

 

DANCING INTO THE TOP 10
Area teams that have finished in the top 10 in the state in competitive dance.

2013 Sandburg – 6th, 3A
2014 Stagg – 8th, 3A
2020 Evergreen Park – 10th, 1A
2020 Argo – 10th, 2A
2021 Riverside-Brook – 8th, 2A
2022 Evergreen Park – 6th, 1A
2023 Evergreen Park – 6th, 1A

 

EP3 scaled

Evergreen Park’s competitive dance team poses after finishing sixth in the state for the second year in a row. Photo by Jeff Vorva

3 Comments

  1. John Hernandez on January 30, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    THATS MY GIRLFRIEND ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK RIGHT THE SECOND TO LAST ON THE RIGHT!!!



  2. Daisy Alvarez on January 30, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    Great Job Girls!!!!! You guys have done great the whole season! Proud Dance mom of Cathalina Castellanos!!!!!! The whole team gave it their all and kept bringing it more and more at every competition!!!



  3. Laquetta Johnson on January 31, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    The young ladies did an amazing job all year! They really knew how to wake up the crowd and bring all of the excitement. This is just the beginning for them. They are our champions and we are very proud of them! Let’s Go EP! Congrats to my mini me Jordan! She definitely did her thing this year as she has done many years. Next year will be even better for her and her team!

    Thank you to an amazing coaching staff. You are the best!



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