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DQ, P'ville drill teams head to state

  • The Du Quoin Indianettes will perform on Saturday in the Illinois Drill Team Association's state finals in Springfield.

    The Du Quoin Indianettes will perform on Saturday in the Illinois Drill Team Association's state finals in Springfield.
    Pete Spitler/Du Quoin Call

  • The Pinckneyville Poms will compete in Springfield on Saturday in the Illinois Drill Team Association's state finals.

    The Pinckneyville Poms will compete in Springfield on Saturday in the Illinois Drill Team Association's state finals.
    Provided photo

 
By Pete Spitler
pspitler@localsouthernnews.com
updated: 2/9/2018 1:29 PM

The Du Quoin and Pinckneyville drill teams are two of several southern Illinois squads heading to Springfield today, as the Illinois Drill Team Association's state finals takes place Saturday at the Bank of Springfield Center.

Marion, Murphysboro, Herrin, Benton and Johnston City will also be represented this weekend.

"IDTA is an organization designed to educate and promote the performing arts of pom/dance/flag activities," said Pinckneyville coach Lauren Hicks. "Unlike IHSA, IDTA offers different events teams can compete in.

"Examples of those events are pom, pom dance, jazz, hip hop, lyrical/contemporary, kick, production, tall flag, lyrical flag, and color guard. Teams can compete in no more than three events."

The season begins on Oct. 23 and runs through mid-February. Squads are allowed to compete at five regional IDTA contests, not including IDTA state, IHSA sectionals or the IHSA state competition.

"Regional competitions are held on Saturdays beginning in December," Hicks said. "Each competition scores the routine based on execution and general effect.

"In order to qualify for IDTA state, routines must receive a score of 80 or above. Teams may take up to three qualified routines to the state competition."

Pinckneyville is a young team with two sophomores (Phoebe Keith and Leah Thies) and five freshmen (Sarah Barnes, Paige Epplin, Maddison Hagene, Cameron Hepp and Darrian Nix).

The Panthers also have three seniors (Hannah Epplin, Alexis Rice, Abi West) and two juniors (Keely Epplin and Kyla Epplin).

"The fact that my team consists of more freshmen than any other grade is unique in itself," Hicks said. "I really thought it would be a rebuilding year, and they have really stepped up and tried their hardest to keep this team within its tradition as a championship team.

"The members on my team are so so involved in so many other activities and the fact that we can meet for two or three hours each day and do what they love and come out successful is very unique."

Pinckneyville will compete at 10:24 a.m. Saturday in the Class A Pom/Dance category and at 3:03 p.m. in the Jazz category.

"Pom dance routines emphasize the use of pom effects and color work to create visual images that enhance the music," Hicks said. "This year the poms use a unique theme of 'fortune teller' where the routine takes the audience on a visit to a fortune teller.

"Jazz routines use a combination of rhythms, beats, and patterns to create visual images to enhance the music. This year, the poms are dancing to sax for jazz."

Du Quoin is led by four upperclassmen in seniors Madison Jones, Kaylee Aleshire and Brooke Ward and junior Mackenzie Sizemore. Overall, the Indians - like the Panthers - are young with 11 underclassmen in five sophomores (Malena Adams, Avery Waller, Lily Metten, Kloey Harsy and Braylee Watson) and six freshmen (Addison Carver, Raylee Carroll, Kirtley Scarber, Alivia Owings, Trinity Wright and Lillie Feltmeyer).

"How close they are," said first-year coach Brittany Funk on what is unique about this year's Du Quoin squad. "Last year, I think they didn't get along as well as they do this year and it's pretty awesome to see how they get along."

At the Jan. 13 Marion Regional, Du Quoin won the Class A Pom/Dance category and finished third in the Hip Hop competition, but still qualified for state in that category.

Pinckneyville finished runner-up in the Pom/Dance Category and third in the Jazz Category.

"Nowadays, it's all about the tricks," said Funk of the Hip Hop category. "It's just like hard-hitting dancing. Big motions, popping a lot, sharpness."

Du Quoin will compete twice Saturday - at 11:36 a.m.in the Pom/Dance category and 4:45 p.m. in the Hip Hop category. A "parade of teams" will take place at 7 p.m., with the awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m.

Funk was asked her favorite part of working with her squad.

"Getting to know the girls individually, all their different personalities and how they come together," she said. "It's really fun to watch."

"I just want the girls to know how much I love them and how proud I am of them," Funk added. "No matter what."

 
 
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