March 20 05:34 PM

Almont dance team earns a spot in Nationals

Squad is led by four local All-Americans, team headed to Orlando for finals

The Almont dance team has qualified for the NDA Nationals. They are front, coach Ann Hunter; and back (L to R) Marissa Sheffield, Jelena Rosenberg, Jillian Zygmontowicz, Lauren Williams, Aubre Grimaldi, Emily Bonello, Lindsay Johnson, Samantha Jakubik and Rachel Bonello.

August 19, 2009
ALMONT — The Almont dance team started its 2009-10 season in impressive fashion, bringing home several accolades from a NDA Summer Camp recently.

The camp was held July 18-21 at Oakland University.

Over the aforementioned stretch the Almont dance team endured a grueling training schedule. And that is putting it mildly.

It was not uncommon for their day to get underway at 8 a.m. and eventually draw to a close at 9:30 p.m, according to Almont Coach Ann Hunter.

Almont's squad learned several routines that they had to perform in front of the entire camp and get evaluated by the NDA staff. They also learned about competing with the proper technique, both as an individual and in a team capacity.

"Camp is the beginning of team development for the new season," Hunter commented. "We learn routines we may use during our games, we team build and bond as a family," she emphasized.

"Most importantly, this is where I see the most growth in the dancers."

At the camp, Almont received high marks from the NDA staff. Their team routine earned them the Gold Award, the highest honor any squad can receive.

The Almont captains, Jillian Zygmontowicz and Lauren Williams, were evaluated in a team leader routine. There they garnered a Gold Award.

In addition to that, Almont brought home a Technical Improvement and Technical Excellence Award as well as the highly sought after Spirit Stick.

Rachel Bonello, Marissa Sheffield, Samantha Jakubik, Zygmontowicz and Williams were selected as All-American nominees,

Of that group, Almont had four All-America honorees. Their ranks consisted of Rachel Bonello, Sheffield, Zygmontowicz and Williams.

The final award the team received was the Superior Trophy, which is the highest ranking throughout the whole camp. That enabled Almont to earn a bid to attend a NDA National Competition in Orlando, Florida next March.

"This is my 10th year coaching the Almont varsity dance team and it marks our 10 year anniversary as a dance team," Hunter said. "I have been fortunate to have coached so many talented girls year after year," she noted.

"This program wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the generous support of the school board, superintendent, athletic director and those girls who took a chance 10 years ago to try out for a brand new sport in the school. Over the course of those years Almont has earned a positive and respected reputation throughout the state from the teams we compete against. Now that Almont has come this far, the next step is to take the leap and accept the bid to nationals where we will compete against schools from all over the country."

This year's edition of the Almont varsity dance team consists of Rachel Bonello, senior and co-captain; Lauren Williams, senior and co-captain; Jillian Zygmontowicz, senior and co-captain; Marissa Sheffield, senior; Aubre Grimaldi, junior; Samantha Jakubik, junior; Lindsey Johnson, junior; Jelena Rosenberg, sophomore; and Emily Bonello, freshman.

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