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The Lakers follow up on their seventh-place national finish by winning state.

COURTESY PHOTO - The Lake Oswego dance team showed its heart at this year's OSAA state championship — held March 18-19 at Oregon City High School — winning the Class 6A championship for the first time since 2015.The 2022 Lake Oswego dance team left its mark.

That mark represented excellence, teamwork, creativity, work ethic and camaraderie.

In the end, the Lakers — who earlier took seventh place in the UDA nationals — won the Class 6A state championship at Oregon City on Friday and Saturday, March 18-19.

"We wouldn't have been able to achieve what we did without the hard work each person put in," said senior captain Kamryn Gintz. "The team this year had such a close bond and was definitely something special."

"I couldn't have been more proud and happy with the results we received this year," said senior captain Sofia Gurevich. "We wouldn't have been able to do it without the endless support from our coaches (and) families, and the close bond that we built as a team."

"Getting first at state this year meant so much to all of us," said senior captain Ava Heyer. "Especially the seniors, since we only had one other opportunity at state our freshman year. Winning this year meant a lot not only to the current team, but to the past Laker dancers that did not get an opportunity."

The Lakers — dancing in their blue and white school colors to an a capella version of Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know" choreographed by Bayleigh Loveless and Cierra Peters — used their high level of difficulty, musicality and projection to win the state title with 17.86 points. They were followed in the top three by Sherwood's 17.58 and Tigard's 17.42.

The complete team scoring included: 1) Lake Oswego, 17.86; 2) Sherwood, 17.58; 3) Tigard, 17.42; 4) Gresham, 16.56; 4) Tualatin, 16.56; 6) Westview, 16.53; 7) Mountainside, 16.42; 8) Nelson, 16.06; 9) Lincoln, 15.86; 10) Sunset, 15.64; 11) Barlow 15.11; 12) Lakeridge, 14.89; 13) Oregon City, 14.64; 14) Centennial, 14.28; 15) Century, 11.94; 16) Reynolds, 11.92; 17) Bend, 11.86; 18) Sandy, 10.03.

COURTESY PHOTO - The Lake Oswego dance team struts its stuff along the way to winning the Class 6A state championship at Oregon Cioty High School March 18-18.In the process, Lake Oswego returned to prominence at the state level, notching its first state championship since winning five straight in the 6A Small and Intermediate school divisions from 2011-15.

This year's team was led by head coach Hayley DuLong — she was named Class 6A Dance/Drill Coach of the Year for 2022 — assistant coaches Veronika Rowe and Lauren Yamaguchi and senior team captains Abby Kniss, Amelia Edelberg, Grace Winter, Jovie Chen, Leyna Harman, Shea Ivey, Gintz, Heyer and Gurevich.

After preparing their state routine for just a month due to their appearance at nationals in February, the Lakers stepped up big-time at Oregon City.

"We knew we had to stand out this year so we purposefully picked a nostalgic song with a twist," DuLong said. "Every year, we try to push the envelope in our technique and difficulty of movement. The team excelled bigtime this year. Their emotional performance gave everyone goosebumps."

The special nature of this year's accomplishments was not lost on the Lakers' team members.

"I think something that was really special about this year's team was that we all had 100% trust in each other," Harman said. "We always knew that every single one of us was going to give it our all and try our best at everything we did."

"I truly feel like our scores and results this year (were) a reflection of our hard work and dedication," Chen said. "Our team was super close this year and was always trying our best for each other and for the best result, which is what I think allowed us to achieve so much."

"I think something that was super special about this year's team was our work ethic," Winter said. "It is truly something special to be on a team of 28 people and to have everyone working just as hard as the next person."

COURTESY PHOTO - There were smiles all around from the Lake Oswego dance team after the Lakers won the Class 6A state championship at Oregon City High School March 18-19.Earlier, Lake Oswego came through with a seventh-place finish in the Game Day Division at the Universal Dance Association Nationals, held Feb 4-6 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Competition in the Game Day Division consisted of three separate pieces — fight song, sidelines and a one-minute routine.

The Lakers, who earned their berth at nationals by performing a winning routine at camp, were the only Oregon team to compete at UDA nationals.

"The girls were spectacular," DuLong said. "This … team is incredibly special. These dancers worked hard through COVID restrictions and were denied a lot of opportunities last season. So they were incredibly motivated to put their heart and soul into everything we were involved in this year. It's rare to have every member of the team fully invested. … They are a coach's dream team."

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