Larkin High School's poms squad got a surprise treat Monday night when the team learned it won TeamDance Illinois' Grand Championship award.
"They were shocked," said coach Laura Newmeyer. "I had to keep it a secret since last Monday."
She said she told the team there would be a surprise and some of the 10 members thought they had been asked to perform at the Orange Bowl again, like they did in January 2012.
They were asked, and will travel to Florida next January to dance during a nationally televised halftime show.
But the Grand Championship award and medals for each team member, as well as $500 for the team, was the real surprise and a great honor, said Newmeyer as the team watched a slideshow of their year with their parents in the Larkin High School auditorium.
TeamDance Illinois, a nonprofit corporation, conducts elite competitions throughout the year highlighting Illinois' best youth, junior varsity and varsity dance, drill, poms and guard teams. The Grand Championship, which is the season's culminating event, was held March 2 at the Peoria Civic Center.
TeamDance Illinois directors delivered the trophy, medals and sponsorship check to the Larkin poms team during the high school's Winter Award Ceremony Monday night.
Larkin's poms team had the highest cumulative score of two routines in each division. Larkin poms compete in Division 2.
• Daily Herald photographer John Starks contributed to this report.