By Matt Goisman
McALESTER — McAlester’s pom squad performed Saturday afternoon at the Oklahoma State Dance Team Championship at Oklahoma City University, then left to support the Buffaloes in their state championship that night in Stillwater.
By the end of the first quarter at the football game, the Lady Buffs knew they’d finished fourth at State.
“Coach (Yvonne) Allford and I, we agree that was the best that we’ve seen them perform that routine,” Lady Buffs coach Kacyn Haney said Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, the judges just liked the other routines better.”
Haney said the Lady Buffs moved up their performance time so they could get to Stillwater. That meant all four other 5A pom squads performed after McAlester, which might’ve been a disadvantage in a sport decided by subjective judges and ratings.
“We just told them to push for the best and set the bar really high,” Haney said. “That’s what we did, and it just so happened that the other teams scored higher.
“We didn’t get any penalties or any deductions. ... We didn’t get any points taken away.”
Metro Christian, Tulsa Edison and Carl Albert finished first, second and third, respectively, at State.
Haney said the judges awarded McAlester scores of at least 7.5 in all categories. Suggestions from the judges, she said, included altering the spacing between individual dancers and improving the squad’s precision.
“That’s something that we work on all year with them,” Haney said. “So it’s not things that they haven’t heard before; it’s things that we knew we needed to work on, and it just reiterates, basically clarifies, that we need to step up our games in those areas.”
Haney added, “I don’t think that they did anything wrong. We didn’t make any major mistakes, we didn’t come off the floor saying, ‘Oh, I wish I could redo that.’ We came off the floor feeling very confident and very proud of what they accomplished. So it wasn’t a sad feeling — it was more of a disappointment because of all the hard work that we put into it.”
The Lady Buffs danced to a compilation of five rock songs that came out between 1981 and 1989: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll;” Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock;” Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me;” Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle;” and Mötley Crüe’s “Dr. Feelgood.”
Haney said team captains Kaylee Harvanek and Cambrea Lott chose the music, limiting themselves to five songs because that’s the limit at the National Dance Team Championship, at which the Lady Buffs will compete in February.
“You want to keep up your high energy,” Haney said. “If it’s a two-minute routine, sometimes if you have the same song, a lot of times your energy can die. So what you try to do with the five songs, at least, (is) we try to pick the best, and try to pick the most energetic, because that’s kind of what it’s all about as far as being a spirit squad. You want to keep high energy the whole time.”
Haney added, “Cambrea and Kaylee were really into the rock ‘n’ roll, so they just kind of gave me a list of songs.”
With the state competition finished, Haney said the Lady Buffs can now turn their attention fully towards Nationals. That will mean continuing to fine-tune their pom routine while also learning a hip-hop routine.
“Both of the routines that we have going are very good, able to place at a national level,” Haney said.
“The first thing we want to do is make sure that this isn’t a setback. We just really want to focus and push that much harder just because we didn’t get that first- or second-place finish that we were looking to get at State.”
The Lady Buffs may not have any more football games at which to perform, but Haney said they’ll still perform at basketball games and wrestling meets this winter. She added the team will also try to hold some community performances and could even travel as far as Tulsa to perform at University of Tulsa games.
“You’re adrenaline’s totally different in front of an audience than it is in front of just your two coaches,” Haney said.
Nationals start Feb. 1 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.
Contact Matt Goisman at firstname.lastname@example.org.