Grant Union Gold set for energetic season

Grant Union Gold members practice their routine in anticipation of their first competition this Saturday, Jan. 29 at Sheldon High School in Eugene. Returning athlete and captain Ashleigh Sampley (not in photo) is joined by 10 new and promising athletes.

JOHN DAY – They’ve got talent.

Grant Union High School’s dance team starts a busy 2011 season with a competition at Sheldon High School in Eugene this Saturday, Jan. 29.

Coach Shannon Adair is optimistic about the prospects of her team, Grant Union Gold.

A combination of 11 new and experienced dancers, “they have turned out to be quite a talented team,” said Adair.

“My experienced dancers are exceptional in skill, even though they are young. My new girls are showing a drive and determination I am very excited about. We have a great chance to do well this year, and I am looking forward to our first competition in Eugene,” she said.

On the agenda are several other competitions, leading up to the state meet March 17-20 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

  Returning to the team as captain is Ashleigh Sampley, a junior. Having danced and competed at the junior high level are freshmen Bryonie Emery, Cherise Holmstrom, Lindsey Webb and Samantha Snyder, and sophomore Kyra Adair.

Anita “Ana” Gonzalez Peces, an exchange student and junior with dance experience, joins new dancers freshman Hannah Andrews, and sophomores Melanie Delgado, Kaitlyn Slinkard and Lindsey Weymouth.

“Because we have so many new students on the team this year, my goal in the beginning was to come up with a routine that was fun and upbeat, that was challenging for their experience level, but was also competitive,” said Adair.

Competition music this year comes from Linkin Park’s new album “A Thousand Suns.” The song selections are “When They Come For Me,” “Wretches and Kings,” and “Iridescent.”

Members of the community will have an opportunity to see the team perform. Grant Union Gold will take the floor at halftime Friday, Feb. 11, at Grant Union High School’s boys basketball game with the Burns Hilanders.

Adair’s assistant coaches this year are Jessica Moore and Laci Powell. Moore was on the team in 2003-2004. In 2003, the group took 2nd at state in their division. Powell was in the local dance program for many years, and is currently on the Eastern Oregon University dance team. She returns home to John Day on holidays, and some weekends, to help with choreography.

The junior high school dance team, coached by Jennifer Hughes, will join Grant Union Gold, also traveling to compete on Saturday, Feb. 19 at Pendleton. The junior high level of dance and drill has its own state competition the first weekend in April.

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