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The Mokena Messenger 021617

50 | February 16, 2017 |

50 | February 16, 2017 | The Mokena Messenger SPORTS Competitive Dance Celtics dancers improve at state in transition year James Sanchez Contributing Editor First-year Providence head dance coach Stephanie Coglianese admitted she had to tone down her coaching style and be patient. After spending five years coaching 18- to 22-year-olds for Calumet College of St. Joseph’s dance team, she moved on to coaching incoming freshmen to seniors at Providence to be closer to her husband, Mark, who is the school’s varsity football head coach. With no junior varsity team, 10 of the 17 Celtics were freshmen or sophomores. “I had to step back and think, ‘how does a 14-yearold take on corrections as opposed to a 22-year-old?’” Coglianese recalled. “I had put myself back in high school shoes to coach down at that level.” As much as that was an adjustment for her, the girls had to do their own. Since the IHSA included competitive dance as a sanctioned sport five years ago, the Celtics have performed traditional poms routines. Coglianese shifted from that hard-hitting style into a lyrical, contemporary base where it was more fluid and dramatic. Coglianese said the seniors seemingly had the toughest transition after spending three years doing poms but began to grasp the new routine after a month, along with the rest of the team. It danced to a remixed rendition of “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & The Papas. A first-place finish in November during the team’s regular season debut at an Andrew competition set the tone for what eventually became a successful season. “This was the most technically difficult routine we’ve had so far at Providence,” Coglianese said. “It’s a different ballgame for them, and they did well, despite switching genres, which meant different styles, techniques, and doing all this with a new coach.” The Celtics later placed second in the Chicago Catholic League’s inaugural dance competition, finishing behind Class 3A school Loyola Academy. A week later, they took third at the Class 2A Mahomet Sectional to advance to state where they finished 21st out of 30 schools with a score of 82.74. They failed to advance to Day 2, but the outcome was still an improvement from last season’s appearance. “This is our third year moving up to 2A, dealing with the big dogs, and this year, we did score five points higher than last year and went five placements up, so I’m very pleased with that finish,” she said. “Obviously being a first-year coach, you want to improve the program as much as you can.” The Celtics’ best finish at state was third in Class 1A in 2014. They didn’t advance the following year in their 2A debut but have made it back-to-back years since then. Moving forward, Coglianese expects that winning culture to continue. She will only lose four seniors to graduation this year. Coglianese said she has a team full of technicallydriven, coachable girls, and that’s going to help when she plans a harder, more innovative routine next year. Looking back, she added those characteristics made her transition to Providence much easier. “They were 100 percent respectful of new coaching and new coaching styles,” Coglianese said. “Being a new coach, you could see a lot resistance from a lot of high school girls, but all my girls embraced everything that I have brought. I could not have asked for a better first year with the girls.” ELITE SPORTS TRAINING ATHLETES INSIDE-OUT 815.221.6000 • Mar 11 - Apr 29 • Saturdays - 8 Weeks • $150-$180 per player • Ages 5-6 & 7-9 Members of the Providence dance team perform their routine Jan. 27 during the IHSA state dance competition’s preliminary round in Bloomington. Clark Brooks/PhotoNews Media MOKENA the Mokena Messenger | February 16, 2017 | 51