Lake Oswego's Hayley DuLong honored as DDCA Coach of the Year
Two of this year's Dance/Drill coaches of the year have strong roots in Clackamas County.
Lake Oswego's Hayley DuLong, who led her Lakers to a state championship in March, was honored as Class 6A Coach of the Year by the Dance Drill Coaches Association.
And for Class 4A/3A/2A/1A, Valley Catholic's Jessica Anderson — a Wilsonville High School alum — was also honored by the DDCA. Parkrose's Danielle Schneider was honored in Class 5A.
DuLong has been head coach of her alma mater for 14 years.
This year, with 28 dancers on her team, DuLong's mission was to give them every memory-making opportunity possible.
DuLong said that this year's Laker Dance team practiced more than it ever had to ensure that the team could "do it all" and have fun, too.
The team kicked off the year with camps, qualified for nationals, danced at every football halftime, worked on its sideline routines, participated in the homecoming parade, held a youth clinic for 100 kids, competed with two routines in the fall, practiced over winter break, headed to UDA Nationals in February, performed at basketball halftimes and won the 6A title at the OSAA state dance/drill championships in March. It was a busy season, DuLong said, but a great one.
DuLong is currently a DDCA board member, partnering with Marlena Nunley on all-state selections and also serving as secretary-elect. DuLong said she has thoroughly enjoyed working with the amazing members of the DDCA to bring back all of the events missed over the last two years.
"Throughout our time as Laker Dancers, she has taught us more than just dance," shared a senior member of the Laker Dancers. "She has shown us all how to be strong, independent women in every aspect of our lives. She always pushes us to do our best no matter what. She has taught us it's about the journey and all the memories and relationships built along the way. The past four years have been some of our favorite memories because of her and her hard work and dedication to each of us."
Valley Catholic's Anderson has been a dancer all of her life.
She is also an inspiration and a role model who advocates for dance team and the DDCA community.
As head coach of VC's Charisma for the past 16 years, Anderson has impacted the lives of countless young women. She is an innovative choreographer, a tireless advocate for her team and a fearless dreamer.
In addition to being a dedicated coach, Anderson served two terms on the DDCA board where she was able to give back to the sport that has meant so much to her.
She has also been part of many programs as a guest choreographer and adviser.
A proud alumna of the Wilsonville Pride, dance team has been a foundational piece of Anderson's life and a constant source of pride and inspiration. Not even medical school could stop Anderson from coaching the sport she loves.
One of her favorite parts of coaching is watching the amazing growth a dancer can achieve in just one season. Her kindness and patience allow all dancers to reach their potential and to experience the best that dance can offer.
Over the last two years, Anderson has helped her team persevere through the challenge of the pandemic. Through Zoom practices, masked competitions and uncertainty, she helped teach her dancers a lesson that is so much bigger than any sport: Don't give up.
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