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Lake Forest and Stevenson place second, Warren third at state

Lake Forest's competitive dance team executes its routine during Class 2A preliminaries Friday. | Clark Brooks~for Sun-Times Media

Lake Forest's competitive dance team executes its routine during the Class 2A preliminaries Friday. | Clark Brooks~for Sun-Times Media

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Smaller Schools

1) CL Central 90.32

2) Lake Forest 89.88

3) Highland 88.50

4) Vernon Hills 84.16

5) Grayslake North 82.60

6) Troy Triad 81.46

7) Morris 81.06

8) Eisenhower 80.80

9) Deerfield 75.26

10) Lin,-Way W. 71.,46

Big Schools

1) Maine South 98.36

2) Stevenson 96.46

3) Warren 95.12

4) Neuqua Valley 83.90

5) Glenbrook S. 83.24

6) Sandburg 82.16

7) D. Grove S. 78.46

8) Mundelein 76.24

9) O’Fallon 74.04

10) Elgin Larkin 67.62

Note: Also qualifying for state but not finishing in the top 10 during Friday’s preliminaries and thus not competing on Saturday were Libertyville and Lakes. Libertyville was in the big-school division and Lakes in with the smaller schools.

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Updated: March 1, 2013 7:15AM

How’s this for starters?

At the first-ever IHSA-sanctioned poms/dance state tournament, three area teams brought home big trophies from state and a total of five area schools finished in the top five in their division.

That will be a tough act for next year’s squads to follow.

Stevenson (big schools) and Lake Forest (smaller schools) brought home second-place trophies from state, while Warren (big schools) earned the third-place trophy.

Vernon Hills (smaller schools) finished fourth and Grayslake North (smaller schools) fifth, giving Lake County four of the eight top efforts in the two bigger classes at the state ­— and three of the state trophies awarded.

The tournament format had each of the state-qualifying teams competing on Friday, and the top 10 scorers in each division returned on Saturday to vie for state titles.

Unlike cheerleading, where a pyramid can collapse or a tumbler can twirl out of bounds and cause a huge scoring change, in poms/dance, a team is pretty much what it is.

So, Warren, Stevenson, Lake Forest, Vernon Hills and Grayslake North all figured to contend for trophies, and that’s exactly what happened.

This was an unusual competition in that it pitted different styles of poms/dance against each other.

For example, Lake Forest was tremendous with its poms routine, Stevenson was great with lyrical dance and Warren was outstanding with a hip-hop routine.

Vernon Hills did a poms routine to finish fourth and coach Beth Richards was thrilled that the Cougars were part of the inaugural IHSA competition.

“The team had solid performances on each day, and we are honored to have been a part of the first-ever IHSA dance state series,” she said.

Vernon Hills will be a force next year as only seniors Brianna Perl and Delaney Leber graduate.

There were nine juniors, five sophomores and two freshmen on the squad.

Maine South won the big-school title and Crystal Lake Central prevailed in the smaller-school class.

Lake Forest coach Nikki Lazzaretto was thrilled with her team’s showing, and their team will continue with a national competition this coming weekend.

“The girls performed the strongest I have ever seen, with athleticism, energy and confidence,” the coach said. “I am more than proud of these girls and we are ready to move forward as we leave for Nationals on Friday.

Warren coach Sarah Stepek said it was a weekend her squad will never forget.

The team and I are very proud to have placed in the top three at the first IHSA state finals, ranked with two extremely talented other teams — The Maine South Hawkettes and The Stevenson Patriettes,” Stepek said. “The awards ceremony is something that I know my team won’t forget.”

Stepek said the Devils hit their stride on Saturday in the final round.

Saturday, the girls were less nervous and more comfortable. They were familiar with the layout, the floor, the lights and they were ready to compete for the last time together,” she said. “The Devilettes had a great performance on Friday. Watching it back (on tape), the team felt proud of their performance and at that point, everything was in the hands of the judges. On Friday, watching the 30 3A teams, there were so many outstanding performances that I couldn’t tell where we would fall, and we just hoped that we would hear our name called to continue on to the finals.”

Which, of course, is e actly what happened.

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