Golden Girls Burn Bright on National Stage

Kearney dance squad earns top 10 honors at Dance Team Union event

Kearney, Mo., February 24, 2022: Kearney’s Golden Girls hit their marks in a deft display of talent against some of the best dance squads from across the United States.

The dance squad, which includes student-athletes from Kearney Junior High School and Kearney High School, earned 10th place in pom and 16th place in jazz performances during the 2022 Dance Team Union National Competition on Feb. 18-20 in Orlando, Fla. Their outstanding result is particularly notable considering that it was the first time the KHS team has competed at this level, according to Head Coach Samantha Anderson.

“The team is so proud and excited to be honored as one of the top 10 teams,” Coach Anderson said. “We competed against schools that are two to three times as big as Kearney and held our own!”

The Golden Girls spent months going back to last summer practicing their routines and raising money in preparation for their debut trip to nationals. That included hosting their first-ever golf tournament fundraiser.

The KHS squad is a tight-knit group, according to team member Halle Bell. Getting to compete together on that stage will always be a highlight of her senior year.

“Being from such a small town, going against teams from all over the country, and being one of the top 10 teams in the nation is a crazy feeling,” Ms. Bell said. “But it means a lot more that my best friends and I got to do it together.”

The Kearney community’s support and the prospect of competing against teams from across the U.S. helped motivate the squad, Anderson added.

“We have such a talented group of young ladies with an awesome work ethic,” she said. “Thank you to all of Kearney for supporting us along the way!”

At nationals, teams compete in a preliminary round and only the top squads from each group move straight through to the finals. Teams that are not in the top group have the opportunity to compete in a second chance round. The Golden Girls exceeded their own goals by making it to the finals in both of their performances.

“Our goal was to make it to finals with at least one dance, even if it meant competing in the second-chance round,” Anderson said. “To make it to finals and place was a huge accomplishment for our first time at nationals.”

Like all athletic activities, competitive dance is an important component of the world-class education students receive at KHS. Squad members learn how to harness their determination, hard work and resiliency in every aspect of their lives, Anderson said.

“It requires so much rigor and focus and effort, which translates over to their academic life as well,” Anderson said. “This team has so much talent and spirit.”