MORRIS – One week before the Class 3A Morris Sectional, the Arrowettes from Minooka didn’t even turn in the top performance at the Southwest Prairie Conference meet. That honor went to Plainfield Central.
How things can change in a week that was capped at the Morris Sectional.
“We lost conference to Plainfield Central and that was a disappointment but we still placed second so we knew we could come back,” Minooka captain Haley McCabe said. “We saw Plainfield Central again at sectionals along with many other talented teams, so the atmosphere was intense.”
The atmosphere was at Morris Community High but the tone was actually set the night before, captain Kennedy Kunz said.
“We had a great basketball halftime performance during Friday night’s game, so I think that really helped to build our confidence before sectionals,” she said. “We’ve worked hard all season as a team and were going into sectionals knowing that no matter the outcome, we did our personal best and that we were proud of ourselves and knew that our coaches, parents and fans were proud of us, also.”
Even more so the next day before the Class 3A competition ended.
“Right before we perform we have many rituals we do,” Minooka captain Kristina Sak said. “We always build our confidence and I personally do this weird thing when I give everyone on my team a hug before we perform. It’s amazing what a simple hug from one of your teammates does to your nerves.”
Performing a dance choreographed by former Arrowettes Callie and Paige Gliwa, the locals were out to try, and once again, perfect a routine they have been working on since November.
“We have spent many long hours cleaning and perfecting it,” Minooka coach Cathy Gliwa said.
It was a smash success as the Arrowettes finished with a team score of 92.6. So, what was the biggest difference last Saturday?
“For the longest time they performed it without being sassy – for the last week that is what we worked on, and when they were performing, it was the sassiest and had more emotion than they have ever had,” Cathy Gliwa said.
Minooka finished ahead of that same Plainfield Central team by 7.27 points.
“We gave it everything we could just for a chance to step on the state floor as a team,” Minooka captain Kristina Sak said. “Once we finished the routine, I couldn’t help but wear a huge smile on my face. I knew we gave the best performance of this season and for me that was all that mattered.”
It turned out to be the best score turned in by any team in the state Saturday. It’s a performance they want to repeat at state this weekend. This despite not getting to practice because of MCHS being closed Monday and Tuesday because of inclement weather.
“This week when we are able to practice, we are going to work on our formations and not losing our momentum from sectionals,” Cathy Gliwa said. “Our goal this year was to make it to sectionals, so we are going to take it one goal at a time. Friday’s goal will be to advance to Saturday and Saturday’s goal will be first place.”
The IHSA event starts Friday with the preliminaries and ends Saturday with the finals at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.
“We go to TDI state every year but this year is different because we have never been to IHSA state so I really don’t know what to expect,” McCabe said. “I know the teams who will be there are very hard competition, but I am confident that we will hold our own. As captains, we tell our team to stay humble though. We don’t want to get cocky but we want to remain confident.”
Regardless, the Arrowettes are in for a wholly unique experience.
“Last year we just missed making it to IHSA state, so we are looking forward to the whole experience,” Kunz said “We look forward to competing against the best of the best dance teams in the state of Illinois and making memories with our teammates and coaches as we finish our senior year and high school dance careers.
“We hope to make our coaches, parents, fans and the MCHS community proud and ultimately bring home a trophy.”