Although her team didn't yet know exactly how well they'd done as they strode off the dance floor Saturday, the coach of Lake Park High School's competitive dance team, Danielle Ragano, said her girls knew they'd done well.
"When they walked off the floor they felt confident, they felt great," Ragano said.
As good as they seemed then, when the scores were finally announced and the team had the top score in the state -- and was the first group of dancers from Lake Park High to bring the large trophy back to Roselle -- Ragano said the feeling was even better.
"The minute that they heard our name it was absolutely amazing," Ragano said.
Saturday's competition saw the 30 top dance teams in the state compete in three classes.
All of the teams performed the same routines they had Friday. Rather than build on their Friday scores, Saturday's finalists -- who scored in the top third of the first day's competition -- started with a clean slate, giving all of them an equal chance to win.
While the routines were the same, several suburban coaches said their teams performed with more confidence on Saturday.
"Friday you're just full of nerves because you are really hoping to make it to top 10 to make it to the second day," said Tiffany Chilcote, coach of the Lakes Community High School team in Lake Villa.
Chilcote's team placed fourth among medium-sized schools, missing bronze medals by .34 of a point, but she said that did not get her girls down.
"Our goal was first of all to make it to the state finals and last night we were hoping just for the top five," Chilcote said. "To exceed that goal and make fourth is really great."
Another suburban dance team that placed fourth in its group has a similar outlook.
Wheaton's St. Francis High School missed also missed third place by less than half of a single point.
"Before they went on the floor I told them, 'there's no tears today its all just excitement and enjoyment,'" Nichole Johnson, the St. Francis coach, said. "They performed beautifully and that's all I could have asked for as their coach."
The finalists, in order of finish, are:
• Class 3A: Lake Park High School; Barrington High School; Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire; Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville; Warren Township High School, Gurnee; Glenbard North High School, Carol Stream; Downers Grove South High School; Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, Palos Hills; South Elgin High School and Minooka High School.
• Class 2A: Geneva High School; Vernon Hills High School; Fenton High School, Bensenville; Lakes Community High School; Triad High School, Troy, Ill.; Libertyville High School; Crystal Lake South High School; Crystal Lake Central High School; Antioch Community High School and Freeport High School.
St. Francis was the only suburban representative competing in Class 1A for the smallest schools on Saturday.