Nation’s Best at FMS
Farragut Middle School dance team leapt its way to a national championship Sunday, Feb. 6, in Orlando, Florida.
The 14-member squad, comprised of Drew Patterson (captain), Mary Aspin Scott (captain), Cassidy Stickley, Natalie Mahoney, Marlee Pyle, Isabelle McCaleb, Lydia Finnegan, Sydney Derr, Caroline Seagraves, Sadie Floyd, Piper Belcher, Mary Ella Wendell, Cate Fowler and Natalee Mack won first place in junior high pom and second place in junior high jazz during the Universal Dance Association’s 2022 National Dance Team championship held at Walt Disney World Resort.
“We went out and did the best we could, the best way we could, and overcame some significant challenges to win,” Mary Aspin said.
They beat 14 other teams for the title during two day of competition on ESPN’s Wide World of Sports arena, located within the theme park where family and friends and were cheering them toward success.
It actually was the second time the team had come home with a national title trophy, having also won first place in pom and second place in jazz in 2020. Last year, the event was held virtually and during a time frame interfering with dance team tryouts, and the squad didn’t participate.
“Because of that, it was a really nice opportunity to be able to do it again,” said Drew, who, along with Natalie, Mary Aspin and Cassidy were on the winning 2020 team.
“It was a really great experience, but I would not want to have been with any other team,” Mary Aspin said of this season’s championship.
“Our team is the most bonded one I have ever known. We not only enjoy being around each other, we are more like a family — the best family,” she added.
“The main thing I would say is so special is our bond and our commitment to each other,” Drew said. “I don’t know just one relationship — we are all there for each other and loving each other, always. It’s just a huge blessing.”
Between their closeness, hundreds of hours of practice and the unwavering support of their families, the girls also credited their choreographer, Sarah Harrington, and their first-year head coach, Macy Brink, for their award-winning season.
“Our coach is literally wonderful and a terrific role model,” Drew said. “All the time and energy and effort she put in — I can’t imagine Farragut dance without her.
“I feel like it all was possible because of her and our (school) sponsor, Elizabeth Wilson (who also is new this year). They both helped a lot.”
“She completely invested in us,and was always prepared and supported us — I don’t think we could have asked for a better coach,” Mary Aspin added.
Brink, a 2018 University of Tennessee graduate and instructor at Revolutions Dance Studio, said she began coaching the team in May 2021 and was “very humbled” by the national win.
“We have also had a lot of support from our parents and families, and the administration and other school sports teams,” she added.