HDT takes two state titles


Ladies and gentlemen, they’ve done it again! Although this year looked extremely different for the girls, the outcome was the same. For the second year in a row the Hoban Dance Team was awarded first place in small group jazz at the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administration, OASSA, state competition. Not only that, they also received first place in the small group hip hop category, unlike their sixth place ranking last year. 

Because of COVID, the state competition, which usually takes place in Columbus, had to be virtual this year. High schools from all over the state submitted videos of their dances up until the last week of February. After what felt like months of anticipation, results went live March 13. 

OASSA’s plan was to stream videos of every school’s dances and then announce the rankings shortly after. However, by no surprise, Saturday morning was full of technical difficulties. Copyright wouldn’t allow the actual music for each dance to play so instead each performance was paired with a generic sound one could only find on iMovie. The actual live stream wouldn’t open until after about an hour of refreshing. The team, at a small watch party to hear the results together, cheered so loud when the live stream finally worked, you would’ve thought they already won. By the end of the morning the website crashed because so many people were logging on. Nonetheless, it was still a joyous and unforgettable morning.

“There is nothing better than bringing home two state championships in jazz and hip hop,” head coach Erin Smith said. “I am incredibly proud of all the amazing student-athletes on the Hoban Dance Team and I am especially thankful for the help from my assistant coaches, Destiney Vaughn and Brooke Smith. It has been a pleasure coaching such a dedicated, talented and hard-working team.”

HDT is known for their iconic performances on the football field and basketball court. What most people don’t see is the hours of work they put in for the state competition. The team first attended states in 2016, where they received 8th in the hip hop category (none of the current dancers were on the team at the time). They did not return until 2019, Erin Smith’s first year as head coach. This time around, HDT received second place in the jazz category and fourth in hip hop. Coming in as underdogs, this was a great accomplishment. Determined to continue their success, HDT returned to the state competition in 2020 where they received first place in jazz and sixth in hop hop. Disappointed with their hip hop ranking, the team resolved to give it their all in 2021. 

The girls were told at the beginning of the year that everyone was expecting a win in both hip hop and jazz this year because of their past success. At the time this seemed like an unattainable feat but five months of hard work later, they have achieved “the impossible.”

“I was feeling confident about jazz because of the state title we won last year, but we must’ve really pulled it off with hip hop because we didn’t know who our competitors were,” junior Hannah Justice said. “I’m still feeling ecstatic about it all. We all worked so hard for this and dealing with COVID on top of it really made all of it worth it.”

Because of COVID protocols and many unexpected quarantines, this team had to persevere through a lot this year. 

“Winning two state titles this year was the perfect icing on the cake of an otherwise really difficult year,” senior captain Sophie Stephens said.  

Although some key dancers will be graduating this year, the team is still in a great position to continue their reign. 

“I can’t wait to start the new season and hopefully capture even more titles my senior year,” Justice said. 

It is definitely safe to say the “HDT” chants will not go quiet anytime soon.