The 2020-21 Hillsboro Hawkettes have had a busy summer, even though Covid-19 has clouded the entire world’s perspective of what’s to come. Taking every precaution possible, co-coaches Erica Huskey and Codie Wicks have put together an excellent squad, which is ready to help Hawks fan enjoy all the athletic festivities scheduled.
“Because of the uncertainty of the upcoming school year, there is a lot of unknown about what our season will look like,” Coach Huskey explained. “We know we would like to return to the competition at Mehlville, because it was a very positive experience, and the competition ran smoothly. We usually also compete at St. Charles and Sugar Bears at Missouri State. No matter what happens with competitions, I know we are all looking forward to just improving as a team and dancing together at home games.”
The team lost four dancers off last year’s squad, but returns Allison Andeline, Halei Nesbitt, Bella Stephens, Haley Huskey, and Riley Huskey. “Our most experienced dancers are our upperclassmen, seniors Allison and Halei, and junior Bella,” Huskey said. “Allison came to us from Arkansas her sophomore year, but she had seven years of studio dance experience before moving to Hillsboro. Halei has 15 years of studio dance experience, and has been a Hawkette since her seventh grade year on the Junior High team. Bella has 12 years of studio dance experience, and has been a Hawkette since her seventh grade year too. The team absolutely looks up to these girls as leaders. They are always encouraging the underclassmen, helping them with their choreography, and they provide a shoulder to lean on.”
When evaluating the team, Huskey said there are strong points, but also points the team needs to work on. “The biggest strength of this squad is that everyone has a great attitude and work ethic,” she noted. “Every girl wants what is best for the team, not just herself, and they all look out for each other and help each other. We know that we can trust these girls to come back to practice knowing their choreography, because they are practicing at home and sending practice videos to each other to stay accountable. We do have some work to do, and mostly that includes getting the team on the same page technique-wise, learning the ins and outs of how we clean our routines, and how we like things to look in a performance.”
Andeline and Nesbitt are the captains for 2020-21. Huskey thinks the two work together very well, and will be feature dancers throughout the year. “You will see their technique showcased in some spotlight sections of our competition routines, along with our junior Bella Stephens,” Huskey stated. “Bella is often showcased in routines as well for her flexibility. Coming from years of studio dance experience herself, Bella can do just about any trick we request from her.”
Huskey also highlighted other members of the squad. “Our sophomores, Grace Gentry, Haley Huskey, and Riley Huskey have all improved tremendously since last season. Grace and Haley both come from competitive studios as well, and have proven themselves to be excellent technical dancers. Riley has blossomed since last season in her performance showmanship, and she is able to pick up choreography with ease. We have three new freshmen this season in Allie Stephens, Reagan McCrackin, and Riley Stephenson. While we are still getting to know these girls, they have proven already to be driven and ready to work. They are eager to improve and take corrections, and they have already grown so much technique-wise in just a few short months. We can’t wait to see where this season takes them.”
And the team still has its sights set on showcasing its abilities outside of the school setting. “We did receive a bid to NDA Nationals in Orlando, Florida,” Coach Huskey summarized. “Traditionally, we attend every other year, so this season would be our year to compete at Nationals. Although we realize there is a lot of uncertainty regarding competitions and traveling right now, we are hopeful that we will be able to attend. We are working on some amazing routines to bring with us!”
Being a Hawkette goes beyond what is done in routines and competitions. That is evident when Huskey explains the expectations for the year. “Our expectations are first and foremost to build relationships and create a bond between the girls, which is already happening. The team will dance better together, and we will overall have a better season if they trust each other and have fun together. Additionally, we would like to drill technique, especially with our turns, as well as work on overall skill and performance showmanship. We expect to do very well in competitions this year!”
Best wishes for a great season.