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Charlie’s Angels looking to repeat victories

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2018 Charlie’s Angels Dancers are: Anizia Barrera, Jennifer Carreon, Edelin Delascasas, DeLaney DeNio, Alana Dumlao, Malia Dumlao, Danielle Estrada, Taylor Fitts, Daniela Garcia, Rael Gonzales, Hayley Gonzalez, Analisa Green, Kate McDonald, Ricci Medrano, Marisa Moncayo,Aryka Montes, Aneisa Otero, Arianna Padilla, Jacqueline Pappas, Kayla Quiroz, Camille Romero, Chloe Salcido, Savannah Sanchez and Emily Tucker. (Submitted Photo)

It should come as no surprise that the defending national dance champions in Pom, Roswell High School Charlie’s Angels are ready to take on all comers. They proved it when they took their title back as national champions this year in Orlando, Florida, by defeating San Margarita Catholic on their last dance routine.

Charlie’s Angels celebrate another state tournament title. (David Rocha Photo)

Going into the last day of competition they were in second-place but won with their dance routine of Michael Jackson. The Angels had to be perfect to win their second National Dance Alliance High School Pom with a score of 93.8.

The last time the Angels won in 2016, it was by 7/100 of a point. The Angels are used to close calls, that is why now is the most important time for them when it comes to team bonding and morale building.

The previous time Charlie’s Angels won the national championship in 2016, they were denied the opportunity because of Policy 5300, which was changed in 2015. The policy stated that no extended trips were permitted for an extracurricular activity to any out-of-state site over 300 land miles from Roswell.

This time, Kim Castro hopes with the help of the school board and new Roswell Independent School District athletic director Britt Cooper, her team will be allowed to be able to go to Florida and defend their championship in March.

“I think my working relationship with Britt (Cooper) will be great,” Castro said. “He was a great coach at Roswell, and I think he knows his stuff. I think he will be fair to every sport and will want to learn about everybody and what they do. I think he’s a real person, and he was a hard-working coach and a rules-follower when he was a coach. I look for him to be a really great person in that position, and he’s familiar with our community. I’m happy they picked somebody here than going out of town or out of state.”

This time it will be different as Roswell High School will move up in class and take on the bigger schools at the 5A level: Cleveland, Eldorado, Las Cruces. The class the Angels will be competing up against will be twice as many as they were in their previous district.

“We feel like we can win at the next level,” Castro said. “It’s going to be more work for us. We just have to up our intensity level and be prepared for bigger schools and more competition.”

The leader of the Angels is Coach Castro, who has her team back at work. Since June 1, Castro has had her team practicing three hours a day, four days a week. Castro is excited by the start of a new season.

She has eight new girls on the team and a record-high five eighth-graders with two freshmen on the team. With 25 girls, this is the biggest team Castro will have had in her 18 years as coach. The girls will practice from now until a week before school starts to withstand the rigors of close dance competition. Castro believes in her eighth-graders, because of the talent they have.

“This is the most talented group of eighth-graders I have had,” Castro said. “I don’t look at age ever when I look at the kids. These eighth-graders are pretty talented.

“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 programs.”

The Angels are already working on a new state and national routine and has had choreographers come in to help with the technical aspect of dance. Castro will put in three new routines for the season, which she believes will take her team all year to get it down like she wants them to perform when the pressure is on.

Castro believes in teaching her team as many dances as possible so that when they hit the big stage and perform in front of large crowds, they are used to it and don’t freeze up at the competition level.

“We are expecting, hopefully, to continue to win state,” Castro said. “We have new goals this year, and we want to win at the highest level. The girls know they have to work. We’re working a lot harder this summer than we have in the past summers.”

The Angels’ dance schedule is grueling because they start in June and go through March with little breaks. She believes this team is one of the hardest working girls teams she has had in a long time. Castro also likes that the competition can view their dances and likes the pressure of having to perform.

Fundraisers are coming up with the discount cards, which will start this week for the Angels. They will also start with their calendars on July 1. The calendars are school calendars instead of a normal calendar.

The camp is for ages from 3 years old to middle school. On Tuesday, they will perform at 1 p.m. for their families. The Angels will teach the dances at the camp, with the campers getting lunch and a T-shirt for the two-day camp. Castro praises her assistant coach Silvia Hernandez who has been with her since day one, 19 years ago.

Castro does not discriminate against talent and has had boys try out for her team. She would welcome someone good enough to make the team. Castro has seen other teams with boys on them at the state competition. She would like to have a talented boy dancer on her team and will not exclude him just because he’s a boy. It has been years since she has had a boy try out for the team.

“I would be totally up for a boy making the team,” Castro said. “For them to be able to do what we do, that would be amazing.”

Castro is excited to be doing this and has not given any thoughts to slowing down or retiring. She gets excited still about the practices and the competition.

It has been so long since the Angels have been beaten, she cannot remember if it was Gallup or Farmington that beat them and what year. It was in 2010 they lost to Gallup, 528.5-519.5. It was 2011 when they last lost to Farmington, 541-531. The team had won five state titles in a row and then lost two years in a row. The Angels have not lost since 2012. Castro remembers how it felt to lose and tells her team they can always be beaten, and it’s not a feeling they want to experience.

“I would feel horrible,” Castro said. “I tell the girls, that they have won seven years in a row. ‘I tell the girls they don’t know what it feels like to lose.’ It’s not a good feeling and I always throw that at them if I feel like they are not working hard enough.”

Castro’s biggest fear is that her team could get beaten, and she doesn’t want them to lose without giving their best effort. She doesn’t want her team to have regrets and know they could have worked harder. Castro has won so much that she has a hard time convincing her team that there are other competitve teams that want the chance to beat them.

“I think one good thing that comes out of losing,” Castro said, “I told the girls that lost, ‘You can throw in the towel and say to forget it because they were devastated, or they can pick themselves up and work harder.’ The losses made us a better team because it made us work harder. I just don’t want to win by a point. We want to win by a lot of points. Since our loss, I have pushed the girls harder to learn new skills that are off the charts to help us win.”

Castro tells her team that they have to work for what they get. She reminds them that it is possible for them to lose. She never feels like they have it won until they announce at the tournament that they have won the state, then she believes.

“I hope the city of Roswell is proud of what we do,” Castro said. “I’m from Roswell, and I graduated from Roswell and it makes me proud that we could be successful. I always want to thank the community for the support they give us. We have a good city that rallies around us when we do well. Hopefully, the city is proud of us.”

Castro believes the demands of being an Angel will prepare them if they decide to dance in college. A lot of her former dancers have earned scholarships at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and Eastern New Mexico University among other universities.

“I really believe my kids are well prepared to dance at college once they leave here,” Castro said. “We work on so many skills, and I know when they go to try out at the college level, they provide a skill list to the girls who are trying out because they have requirements. My kids almost always meet those requirements on the list because they have done it. If a girl wants to dance in college. I will get them ready if that’s something they really want to do.”