VALRICO — A group of youth cloggers from Judy's Dance Academy recently captured a national title at the Dance Xplosion National Finals Competition.
Competing in the novice division, Rebekah Lorentzen, 10, and Miranda Alonso, Brianna Maltby, Kali Vician and Aubrey Willitzer, all 9, took top honors at the three-day event held in Orlando last month and won two other awards.
The troupe beat out teams in various dance disciplines to claim the national title among all first-year competitive dance ensembles.
The girls earned a first-place "extreme gold" high score in their clogging category for their age group. Then the judges bestowed a special "Fun" award on the team for having a "clean, crisp and clear" routine, which featured a baseball theme and included John Fogerty's Centerfield.
Judges also placed the troupe second among all the acts in the 66-team competition.
The Judy's Dance Academy junior clogging team earned a first-place platinum award as the best clogging group and a fourth-place overall in their age group across all dance disciplines. Teegan Ahrens and Lauren Cadle, 11, Shianne Akers and Skye King, 12, Natalie Lombardi and Isabella Willitzer, 13, and Danielle Frost, 14, also earned a special "Fun" award from the judges.
Judges also recognized Maureen Cadle, who coaches both clogging teams for the academy, as the national choreographer of the year at the event.
Cadle has clogged competitively for 30 years and has taught clogging for the past six years.