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Teamwork makes Charlie’s Angels No. 1 in the nation

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Charlie’s Angels pose for a team picture after winning their third National Championship Sunday. (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The greatness of any organization starts at the top. For Charlie’s Angels boss Kim Castro, last season was a kick in the face. For Castro, it was a sign of disrespect, for her and her program.

Most teams would have been happy to have Charlie’s Angels’ results last season: fourth in the nationals and second at state.

“The good thing about a loss,” Castro said, “is it makes you hungrier to work even harder than you ever have. It’s been good and this whole year has been very promising.”

For the hyper-competitive Castro, it was like her team had finished last. For her and sidekick Silvia Hernandez, second in anything with their dance team would never do. During tryouts held in May, Castro was looking for not only good dancers, but also team players and girls willing to work as a team.

Castro didn’t want a repeat of last season. She didn’t want cliques or her team not being able to get along with each other. Castro set out to assemble a team that exhibited what being an Angel was all about.

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This team would be good dancers, students, people, good in the community — but most importantly good with each other.

“We had a very talented team last year,” Castro said. “I think this year’s team has really jelled since way back in May when we had tryouts. I have felt good about this team all year. I felt like we had something special on this team. We had a feeling that we were going to have a good year and we have.”

Castro reflected on what went wrong last year, and didn’t feel like her team was far from returning to the championship. What she focused on was more important than talent: it was chemistry. Castro wanted athletes that were capable of being able to room together and sit together with each other for an extended period of time and like each other.

When Castro figured out the right balance between temperament and talent, she went back to being driven in her attempts to put the Angels back on top.

A year after placing fourth last season, the Angels left no doubt and went wire-to-wire. On Sunday there was never a cliff-hanging moment as they took the lead, dominated and won their third National Dance Alliance High School title in POM in five years, outscoring over 100 teams.

For Castro it was all about the hunger she felt in being knocked off, nationally and in the state. There would be no come-from-behind drama. Castro always tells her team they have to be perfect, because that is her personal mantra, to try and be perfect when her team competes.

The only competition the Angels had to beat was the team that won it last year, Olathe Northwest High School. Charlie’s Angels were in the clubhouse drinking lemonade Saturday after a stellar performance.

With the lead, what did Castro do that night? Give her team a pep talk? No, she had the score sheet and had the Angels in the ballroom of the hotel, practicing from midnight to 1 a.m. to fix their mistakes.

On Sunday, the Angels, with a lead, had the opportunity to watch all the other teams go before them. The Angels knew exactly what they needed to do to win the competition and were able to go last and capture the judges’ vote with a great performance.

The Angels won this year with a new dance routine — “Old School Hip Hop” — scoring a 95.60 over Olathe’s 95.17. When the results were announced, the Angels and Roswell family and fans broke out in pandemonium. For the third time in five years, the Angels were able to hoist the National Varsity POM Division trophy in 2020.

This was a far cry from when they won in 2018 on the last dance by 7/100 of a point against Santa Margarita.

“After I saw Olathe perform for the last time,” Castro said, “I told our team they would have to be perfect. I feel our team performs best under pressure. It’s unusual to have a team that responds to pressure but our girls do. These kids don’t get intimidated.”

Castro felt like her team was the crowd favorite. She also said that Roswell had the most followers and they were the loudest.

“We’ve been telling this team,” Castro said, “do your job. I’m not surprised we won. This team really gets along well. They love each other and get along well with each other. I have possibly had years with more talent and more senior leadership where we should have won and didn’t.

“I think what’s different about this year is the way the kids get along. They jell and communicate and they can room with any girl on the team or hang out with anyone and they get along. I think that’s been the difference and they believe in each other.”

Castro thinks her team is in a good place and they have a desire to get better. They had one eighth-grader on the team this year. Isabel Garcia goes to Mesa Middle School. Even with the loss last year, Castro and the Angels believed they were the best team in the nation and at state.

“What our program shows,” Castro says, “our team is full of fighters and they never give up. We had 21 kids this year. We work hard every year, but this year we worked a little harder.”

Castro planned to give the team Monday off, and then have them back practicing Tuesday for state competition. With a hunger to win, Castro has won 12 state titles and three national titles in 20 years.

Charlie’s Angels will be competing at state on March 28.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.