This past weekend, the Odessa College Dance team traveled to the University of North Texas in Denton, TX to compete in the 2016 American Dance Collegiate Championships. The competition consisted of Division I, II, III, NAIA, and Two Year Colleges from all across the country. The OC Blues performed both jazz and hip-hop routines where they competed against other Community Colleges and Division II teams. The Wranglers finished 5th runner-up in their jazz routine, but brought home the National Championship with their hip-hop routine. This is the first ever National Championship won by the OC Blues.
Three years ago, Kristi Gray took over the dance program and this is the first time under her leadership that the OC Blues have gone to a National competition. “I have to give these young ladies a lot of credit for practicing every morning at 7am. It’s not always easy waking up that early, especially when there were times we would get in at two in the morning from being on the road with the basketball teams,” said Coach Gray. The team started learning their choreography for their National routines back in December, over their Christmas break. Choreographer Tori Sandate and assistant coach, Belle Gutierrez, worked endless hours with the team teaching them their choreography. “These two young ladies have worked extremely hard and put in extra hours on their days off to achieve this outstanding accomplishment. I can’t thank Belle enough for the time and dedication she put in working with this team. We wouldn’t have been able to bring home this Championship without her,” Coach Gray said of Gutierrez’s work.
Assistant Coach Belle Gutierrez said, “In the 20 years that I have danced, I have never been more nervous to compete. There were many technically trained dance teams that have been loyal competitors at this competition for many years. Going into this competition we knew we were the underdogs. Although this was intimidating, the team came out on top. These girls put everything they had into that performance and it was clear to fellow competitors and the judges our originality and style could not be replicated.”
OC Blues team captain, Emily Lara, added that she is “extremely happy and proud of the team. We worked incredibly hard this year from games and performances to competing in a National championship. Nothing can compare to the moment they announced “First place goes to Odessa College!” Lara feels the team gave it their all and represented Odessa College well and wants to extend a huge thank you to the coaching staff for putting in the hours and supporting the team. “We hope to continue competing and we plan on working even harder in the years to come to do this again.”
Coach Gray is very honored to be a part of the first ever National Championship for the OC Blues. “Watching the team perform was a moment that I will never forget. I had chills the entire routine. I can’t even begin to describe the energy that the girls brought to that performance and to the entire arena. You could tell the team was having a blast, doing what they love and everyone in the arena loved it as well. They cheered so loud and everyone went crazy…we even had a standing ovation!”
Congratulations to the entire OC Blues Dance team and coaching staff on this amazing accomplishment.
Athletic Department Program Coordinator