Stevenson wins IHSA dance title; Lake Park, Geneva, Lake Zurich place
The Stevenson High School competitive dancers were frozen in silence, waiting to hear which team won their division at the Illinois High School Association finals Saturday in Bloomington.
When "Stevenson" was announced, the whole team screamed. And soon they were carrying their state title trophy around the stage.
The Lincolnshire school's team took the Class 3A crown with a score of 99.24. That put them ahead of other suburban schools, including Roselle's Lake Park High School, which finished second.
"It feels amazing to be a state champion," Stevenson senior Jorie Knysz said. " ... We started the season really rough, and this is just the most amazing thing I can think of."
Stevenson Assistant Coach Laura Moschel said the team placed second last year and has placed the past eight years -- seven times in the top three.
"We were super super excited and honored to be on that podium," Moschel said. "It was a super rewarding ending to our year, to our season."
The Lake Park dancers also were happy with their finish.
"The team is ecstatic," Lake Park head coach Julie Cowhey said. "They had a fantastic season, and they ended up on the podium, which was the ultimate goal."
Cowhey said Lake Park placed third last year and also placed in the 2014 and 2015 finals.
Following Stevenson and Lake Park were Huntley High School, South Elgin High School, Barrington High School, Elmhurst's York Community High School, Bartlett High School, Naperville North High School, Gurnee's Warren Township High School and Aurora's Waubonsie Valley High School.
Smaller schools from the suburbs placed well in their divisions during the competition at the Grossinger Motors Arena.
For the 2A title, the Geneva Lady Vikings placed second with a score of 94.34, and the Lake Zurich Bears finished just behind them at 92.76, online results show. Deerfield High School placed first, with a final score of 94.50.
"We feel great," Geneva head coach Amy VanWagenen said. "We're super excited to bring home another trophy to Geneva this year."
Mundelein High School, Libertyville High School and Bensenville's Fenton High School placed sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Wauconda High School and Antioch Community High School took 11th and 12th places.
Geneva has been to the state competition for the past seven years and has placed in the top three each of those years, VanWagenen said. She said they brought an entirely new dance routine to the final this year.
In Class 1A, downstate's Centralia High School won the title with a score of 97.10. Aurora Central Catholic High School's team placed seventh.
• Daily Herald photojournalist Rick West contributed to this report