Poms Finish Season with Victory at Counties


Photo courtesy of Gary Peters

In the annual county competition Feb. 1, the poms took home the first place trophy. The team performed at other athletic events during the school year to prepare for their competition season, earning them two first place prizes, one second place and one last place prize.

Gili Golan, Features Managing Editor

Dancing their way into early success this season with a first place win in their first competition, the Poms team started working on their moves long before their intensive competition season came around, ending with a Division 2 first-place win as well.  

After a difficult two year spell in Division 1, it was a bit of a setback bringing the Poms  down to Division II in the county after placing last at counties, but the Poms stayed motivated and were looking forward to the new competition. 

The team enjoyed dancing for the football and basketball games this year so far, but to them, nothing beats competition season, Gardsbane said. The competitive nature of the team during this time of year is great and gets them all working harder than ever. The team even has their own spirit week planned out for the week leading up to the county competition, dressing up in different styles everyday. 

This competitiveness pulled through as the girls came in first place at the county competition on Feb. 1 at Montgomery Blair High School, competing with seven other teams from around the county in their same division, capping off their successful season. 

Prior to the county competition, the Poms earned the highest score of all teams once again at their second competition Jan. 18. However, at the end of the competition, the safety judge who prevents any safety faults from being performed during the performance along with any inappropriate dance moves, judged one of the girls’ hip movements as illegal and then multiplied the penalty by the amount of dancers who completed the dance move, in their case, 17. Coming out to a deduction of 178 points, 52% of their score. Leaving them with virtually no chance of even placing in the competition where they originally had the highest score.

Junior captain Miriam Gardsbane has had a passion for dancing since she was 11 years old and has continued to grow her passion all the way through high school. Before Gardsbane came to RHS she had a strong foundation in Israeli dance that she’s been doing for years, but did not start contemporary dance until her freshman year on Poms.  

 As dedicated as she is to the team, Gardsbane says that she couldn’t do it all by herself and without the help of senior co-captain Mackenzie Jones, it would’ve been difficult to have a successful season. Jones shares her love of dance with Gardsbane but has only been dancing since her sophomore year when she made the team, picking up the moves quicker than ever. 

“They have been virtually working on this competition set for years. You can tell the love and passion they have for it and it shows,” senior pom Jacqueline Cao said. 

This year there are five underclassmen on the team, the most there has ever been. Some think that this would lead to a lack of leadership and experience, but instead, it has been advantageous and brought a new sense of youth, energy and enthusiasm to the team that they have not seen in recent years. After losing seven graduated seniors from last year, the new members were crucial to their success throughout the season. 

Coach Megan Freed is in her 9th year of coaching Poms and her 5th year at RHS. The cooperation and tight-knit relationships between her and the rest of the girls has contributed to their budding success.   

“Our coach has given us freedom and her trust, while supporting us through this competition season, which is really important,” Gardsbane said. 

While coaching and leadership of all kinds is very important, the training that goes into practice everyday is even more crucial for the girls’ success. Gardsbane speaks about their daily practices that leaves them prepared for the next competition so well. 

“Through practice and drilling movement over and over again we achieve clean visuals that become muscle memory for the girls,” Gardsbane said.