MIDDLETOWN -- Middletown High School's dance team won back-to-back state titles in the CIAC state championship Hip-Hop competition, then went out and won a second in the Jazz competition.
The tam won its first-ever CIAC state title last year in the Hip-Hop competition.
The state championship event was held at Newton High School. MHS bested a field of 10 schools in the Hip-Hop competition, and came in tied for first with Wethersfield High School in the Jazz event in a seven-team competition.
Teams are grouped based on the size of the team (either small or large) and MHS competed in the small division.
"We practice four or five times a week," said Jess Carlson, who is co-coach with Sam Richetelle. "We practice in the high school food court and it's not ideal, but we deal with it. I was a founding member of the team back in 2005 and I'm so happy to have the opportunity to share in the program's success."
After Middletown, the next four finishers in the Hip-Hop competition were Bunnell of Stratford, Cromwell, RHAM of Hebron and Greenwich.
In the Jazz competion, the runners-up to Middletown and Wethersfield were Watertown High, West Haven and Fairfield-Ludlowe.
There are 14 girls in the program and they are freshmen Julia Drachenberg, Caitlin Nelson and Lauren Held; sophomores Marisa Bishop, Stephanie Giardina, Julie Marzalek-Baldyga, Imani Moore, Sarah Ouimet and Cassidy Zanette; juniors Emma Bagenski, Kimberly Kardas, Alissa Lancia, Liza Marino and Haley McDonald.
There are no seniors on the team.
The dance team performs beginning in September The group performs with the MHS marching band at football games and at band competitions and is an integral part of the halftime show. The team also goes on the every other year trip to perform at Disney World in Florida.
In the winter, the team has a rigorous schedule of competitions and is also performs at halftime of both the boys and girls home basketball games.