The Crook County High School Sparkles dance and drill team will go for their seventh straight state tournament trophy this weekend when they compete in the OSAA Class 1A/2A/3A/4A championships.

The Sparkles have finished second or higher in each of the last six years, including two Class 4A small and two class 5A small state championships. by: TERESA TOOLEY/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Sparkles pose with a trophy they won at a competition earlier this year. The team will comp;ete in the state championships beginning Friday and continuing through Saturday evening at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Although the team is still strong, this year winning a state championship will be a difficult task. Following last year, the OSAA restructured the dance and drill competition eliminating 4A small and large divisions. Instead Class 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A teams will all compete in the same division regardless of team size.

Due to the change there are four defending state champions in the same division as the Sparkles. Stayton, which won the Class 4A large division last year, is the favorite going into the state tournament.

However, Marshfield, which won the Class 5A small division last year, is now competing at the 4A level and is strong as well. Throw in Class 3A defending champion Valley Catholic, which is currently ranked second in the state behind only Stayton and it is clear that the division is stacked with talent. Also in the mix will be Scappoose and Gladstone, which finished second and third, respectively, in last year’s Class 4A large division.

The Sparkles are currently ranked fifth in the division with a season-best score of 79.00.

Stayton (87.11), and Valley Catholic (86.00) seem to have separated themselves from the rest of the field. Stayton has won an impressive 11 consecutive state titles, while Valley Catholic has won four straight championships.

Marshfield (82.83), and Gladstone (81.39) are next in line, while Crook County, Scappoose (75.67), and Astoria (75.61) should also be in contention for trophies at the competition.

All performances are at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday with performances starting each evening at 5 p.m.

Crook County is scheduled to perform in the preliminary rounds at 5:57 p.m. No performance order has set for Saturday’s championships.

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