By LAUREN GUTIERREZ
The Islanders dance team took first place in the Division I American Dance/Drill Team Collegiate Championship hosted in Denton Texas. The team’s soloist Irene Cornejo placed third in the competition as well. Th e Islanders competed against 17 schools including Northwestern State, which has been the Islanders most competitive rivals according to dance and cheer coach Melanie Lowry. Th e girls began preparing for competitions as early as April 2011. “The level of talent and dedication increased tremendously over the last year,” Lowry said. Th e dance team rehearsed three to four times a week, on top of learning new routines for games. Lowry also gives credit to the athletic department for being supportive and allowing the girls to be successful. The first place win proved to be important to the dancers and the University in more ways than one. Th e competition in Denton was open to several high school dance teams, which Lowry believed was beneficial for the University. “We were able to scout talented dancers and feed their interest for our University,” Lowry said. Sophomore captain Taryn Lovato said she had to fight back tears when Northwestern State was named first runner-up. Upon hearing that announcement, the girls said they knew what they had achieved. “Once I walked up to receive the trophy with my teammates, I couldn’t hold it [in] any longer, and I bawled,” Lovato said. “We worked so hard and it paid off.”
The Islander Way!