Royals make mark on 20-21 season

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FredShots Photograhy

Royals participated in the Frisco Showcase at the Delta Hotel Febuary 27-28th the Sergents won 2nd place contest overall on day 1. Day 2 the Royals Sergeants won 1st place. Junior Lizzie Hanley and Senior Melanine Rodriguez won 1st place for their Duet.

Megan Navarro

The award-winning Royals recently participated in the Frisco Showcase at the Delta Hotel and won 2nd place contest overall. The showcase competition took place over two days. Saturday, February 27, the Royals Sergeants won 2nd runner up, Contest Overall officers- 2nd place, and Officer super sweepstakes awards. On Sunday, February 28, Sergeants won 1st place and Lizzie Hanley and Melainie Rodriguez won the Duet 1st place award.

This is Assistant Director Katie McAninch’s first year being a part of the Royals. McAninch has enjoyed being a role model and support system for the girls on the Drill team. Drill Team Captain Sue Han is also driven to set an example for her team. 

“When all of the attention is on me and everyone is waiting for what I have to say, I have to make sure I plan everything outright and that I am on top of my game,” Han said.

Directors Jolene Bourque and McAninch are motivated to get everything done, ensuring they are successful. The Royals and their directors have a competitive spirit and  high expectations for each of their dancers. Han admires both Bourque and McAinch and is close with them. 

“They are positive and encouraging throughout the entire year, especially when things get really hard. They are always there to push us. Sometimes they can be strict, but in the end, they want the best for us,” Han said. 

The Royals have evolved with the times as new genres of dance are constantly being created. Royals strive for improvement and practice team motivating, making sure they are up to caliber with other teams in the area. 

“We want to be the best, that’s the culture the Royals have,” McAninch said.

Discipline and hard work are important for Royals as they come in every day and make sure they perform to the best of their abilities.

“I make sure I drill everything and then go home, going back and watching the videos and fixing what I need to,” Han said. 

Royals endure many practices to make sure they are ready for every performance, especially during competition season. Royals are in the dance room at 6 a.m. and then go to class each day; they maintain a balanced schedule so that they do not become overwhelmed.

“I try to get ahead in class any time that I can. Since I have been on the team for four years I feel I have gotten used to knowing what is coming up next,” Han said.

One of Han’s favorite memories was from this season. She got injured during the second day of competing, enduring the pain, but ultimately coming out winning their division alongside her team. 

“Everyone was around me making sure I was okay; they were giving me ice and checking up on me. At the end when we finished our last performance I walked off and started crying because I was in pain, but also relieved that we did it as a team,” she said.

The Royals maintain a strong sense of unity and have a competitive spirit as a team,

Captain Sue Han is in formation ready to perform during the halftime show. Dancers train persistently leading up their performance
(FredShots Photography)

always striving to be their best. The Junior Royals have a big responsibility once seniors leave as they are the future leaders of the squad. Once the seniors leave, the junior officers have to ensure the new people coming in are working just as hard as their predecessors.

Han aspires to leave a strong legacy for her teammates and directors. She hopes that the team’s energy continues to be positive and that the level continues to improve. 

McAninch has also enjoyed working with the Royals; despite COVID-19 she has been able to be a role model and support for the girls inside and outside of the drill team.

“Being at Independence is pretty motivational because there is a strong tradition to uphold, the name, and that motivates me to make sure that we are successful as a team,” McAninch said.