Going against some of the top teams in Texas, the Permian High School Panther Paws made a strong showing in the recent Crowd Pleasers event in Galveston.
The competition was held March 26, 27 and 28.
Coach Kristin Carter said their solos went on March 25.
The Panther Paws earned Overall National Champions in Team Hip hop and Team Open; received National Champions in the Medium Team division for Team Open, Team Pom and Team Contemporary; 1st runner-up in Team Jazz and Team Hip hop; and placed 2nd overall in the Medium Team division. The junior varsity team received Nationals Champions in Team Jazz, Team Hip hop and Team Contemporary, plus Overall National Champions in the Junior Varsity division. PHS also had a National Champion Duet performed by Claire Hill and Emily Hill. Emily Hill was also solo finalist and was awarded 5th runner-up out of 50-plus solos, the district newsletter said.
Having made the finals in all five routines, Panther Paws competed against everybody, regardless of size.
“We were going up against teams with like 60 and 70 girls and we only have 21,” Carter said. “We ended up winning overall national champions in hip hop and in our open category, so we have some really fun banners that we get to hang up on our walls.
In the solo finalist contest, there were 50 girls and Emily Hill got fifth runner up.
“Her and her twin sister (Claire) … they won national champion duet. They did this really sweet dance about moving on because they’re both going to college next year,” Carter said.
Last year got year was cut short because of COVID, so getting to go to this competition and finish what they started two years ago was gratifying.
“Some of the routines we reused from last year and some were brand new, but it was such an incredible experience and the girls did amazing and we had a ton of fun representing,” Carter said.
This year, she said Panther Paws was one of the strongest teams she’s had the privilege of coaching.
“I would say just the differences is we had taken a two-year break from competing, so it’s kind of like having to get your feet wet again. It was cool that we had two days because day 1 they were amazing. They were on fire, but day 2 they were hungry. They wanted to win …,” Carter said.
“… We won two of our routines. It was … a really big deal to win that overall division in a style division is what they call it. I think we figured out there were about 20 teams that competed in this out of all the size divisions,” she added.
On a recent Monday, the team was practicing for Black Magic April 29, 30 and May 1.
Team Captain Emily Hill, an 18-year-old senior, has been in Panther Paws for four years.
“… We felt really good about all of our performances and we were happy with how all of them went and so we were really happy leaving, especially since we got that hip hop title. We had never won overall hip hop before, so it was really cool to make history with this team.”
Hill said she and her twin, Claire, performed a lot of duets when they were younger, but then they got busy and they didn’t perform as many.
“We knew we wanted to do one our senior year and so it was really special getting to dance with her again, especially taking home first. …,” Emily Hill said.
solo award: it was really cool specially going in Kallan Grewell, a 17-year-old senior, also is in her fourth year in Panther Paws.
“I felt really good about what we accomplished. We came together as a team even stronger. We, of course, went to compete and try to win but … we grew as a team. Every time we competed, we did even better on the floor. We felt confident and proud of one another. It was just a really good feeling,” Grewell said.