On Wednesday night at about 7:30 p.m. at the Coyote Den, away from the cheering crowds was Roswell’s very own Charlie’s Angels Dance Team. Under the watchful eye of head coach Kim Castro, Castro had her team in their workout gear going through the three dance routines they would be performing at Nationals in Orlando, Florida, on Friday.
While the 22 girls were performing one of their routines, an eighth-grader, Savannah Sanchez falls and injures herself. It looked like she might not be able to compete. Castro had her sit out and ice her injury, after a while she was back out there practicing. This was the day before they were to leave for Nationals in Orlando, Florida.
San Margarita Catholic was a new team competing for the first time at Nationals. After watching them perform, Castro felt like San Margarita Catholic was the team to beat. Castro thought San Margarita Catholic were good and technically sound. In fact, they were in first place after the first day of competition.
The Angels were in second place after the first day of competition. They battled back in the finals as they were able to come out on top. The Angels’ winning dance routine was to Michael Jackson.
The Angels were nearly perfect as they won the National Dance Alliance High School Pom with a score of 93.8. It was the score it took for the Angels to win against Santa Margarita Catholic High School. The last time the Angels won the national championship, it was by 7/100 of a point.
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“I was a little upset with my team,” Castro said. “They like to come from behind, but in a way, I was happy they weren’t in first place, because they knew they had to battle back the second day to win. Coming in second, they knew they were going to have to be near-perfect. They were; it was probably the best performance of their lives.”
The team that won Nationals last year, Olathe Northwest High School, wound up in third place. Roswell beat 31 teams to win the championship; the last time they competed there were 27 teams.
“You literally have to have the best performance of your life if you want a chance,” Castro said. “It’s a scary wait because you never know. You don’t know your score until they call your name. All you can do is hope and pray. I was calling family back home to see what they thought our chances were. It was exciting.”
The team had won Nationals in the Large Varsity Pom Division in 2016 but wasn’t able to defend their title in 2017.
Roswell could have had a chance to repeat but was denied last year because of Policy 5300, which was changed in 2015, stating that no extended trips are permitted for extracurricular activity travel to any out-of-state site over 300 land miles from Roswell.
“I think it upset myself and the girls a bit,” Castro said. “I would have had almost an entire team coming back for that competition. I feel like we would have won. We just need to be thankful, and I believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t want to dwell on it; it’s always the what ifs. The school board and superintendent Susan Sanchez gave the girls the opportunity to go this time.”
Castro has pulled off this win with her team, which includes injured eighth-grader Savannah Sanchez and a lot of ninth graders.
“For that little girl (Sanchez) to perform the way she did, was amazing,” Castro said. “It’s a very scary experience. I try to prep them at home on what it is going to be like, but there is no way to do that. The girls have to come up here and live it and figure it out themselves. They’re champions and they like to win, and I told them, ‘If you’re going to come from behind, you’re going to have to fight hard and do a near-flawless performance to have a chance.’”
Castro feels like the girls on her team have to step up and make the team better. Being able to compete nationally helps bring exposure not only to her team, but to Roswell. The team not only won at Nationals, but they won for choreography. Their dance routine was the crowd favorite, with people in the stands cheering on the Angels.
Castro could not have imagined 18 years ago when she started the Angels, that they would have evolved into what they are today.
“I didn’t think 18 years ago we’d win state,” Castro said, “because I was so new to it. “I didn’t have the experience that other coaches had. I knew it was something I wanted to do with the Roswell High team and hopefully someday get better. However, I never dreamed we could take it to this level. It says a lot about our kids and our program.”
Never one to rest on her laurels, Castro has the team looking ahead to state competition, which is in the third week of March. Castro feels like the Angels must be on point and not take any team lightly.
“Even though I feel like this is like the cherry on top,” Castro said, “I feel like state is the most important thing and to continue to be champions of our own state. It is awesome that we have the support of our school and community.”
Small request: Now that the Angels have won their second NDA championship, it would seem the school could have a ceremony and celebrate these athletes and all their accomplishments, by hanging all their district, state and national championship banners in Coyote Den for all opponents to see.
“I just want to thank all the people who watched from back home,” Castro said. “People went to the website and watched. The girls seen the support they received all over social media and felt like they couldn’t go home empty handed. People fought so hard for them to be in Orlando, Florida, in the first place.”
Charlie’s Angels will perform at The Pit at 11:30 a.m. today at the girls state basketball playoffs.
Members of the Angels include eighth-grader Savannah Sanchez; freshmen: Aneisa Otero, Kayla Quiroz, Ricci Medrano and Kate McDonald; sophomores: Daniela Garcia, Rael Gonzales, Camille Romero and Chloe Salcido; juniors: Alana Dumlao, Taylor Fitts, Arianna Padilla, Aryka Montes, Jianna Mendoza, Jennifer Carreon, Danielle Estrada and Marisa Moncayo; and seniors: Gabrielle Gonzales, Savannah Grado, Priscilla Richardson, Reyna Vasquez and Victoria Vasquez.