Upbeats dance team prepares to defend state title

Having earned seven state titles, including the first place win in the Class 5A small division at the state competition in March, the Marshfield Upbeats dance team is feeling the pressure to bring home another win.
Sophomore Ling Ling Zhu, a second year member of the Upbeats, said the team knows everyone is hoping for another state title.

“Last year’s team worked so hard to bring home that state title and the year before that the Upbeats placed second, so now everyone is expecting another win, and it puts a lot of pressure on the team, but it also encourages us to do better,” Zhu said.

This year, Marshfield was dropped from 5A to 4A in athletic classification. The transfer to 4A matches Marshfield against schools smaller in size. This change may provide some Marshfield teams with better opportunities to be successful in athletics, but according to dance coach Debbie Brown, this is not the case with the dance team.

“The competition is going to be just as tough whether we’re 4A or 5A. There are some really good teams in this division, and we don’t know if we’re going to be separated into small and large teams,” Brown said. “It really depends on that because no matter how good you are, 12 girls can’t do what 35 girls can do on the floor.”

However, freshman Taylor Stark said the team members are confident they will do well.

“I think we have a good chance to win at state,” Stark said. “We work our hardest every day to be the best that we can be and I hope that that will pay off.”

According to sophomore Kaylee Krajcir, the members look up to each other, and in that find the motivation to improve every day.

“I think we all have someone on the team that we look up to. For me it’s Brianna Patnode because she made the all-star state team last year, and that’s really good. It makes me want to work even harder, because I want to be like that someday,” Krajcir said.

Stark said she has found support among the more experienced members of the Upbeats.

“I look up to all of the upperclassmen in general, but especially Katherine Alcober because she’s not only an extremely talented dancer but a great person. She helped me out a lot when I first started and she made me feel welcome,” Stark said.

The team members look forward to building even closer relationships as they spend time together preparing for the state competition.

“We haven’t gotten to spend too much time getting to know each other, but that will change when we start practicing our state routine and we have double practices,” Brown said, “By the end of it all, it’ll feel like we’ve known each other our whole lives.”

This year the team is focusing not on winning, but on improving individually and as a whole. Brown said the ultimate goal is to work hard at every single practice, and hopefully that will lead to success at state.

“It’s like when you’re teaching your students,” Brown said. “You want them to get an A, but as long they do the best that they could you’re happy.”