Hortonville dances to first state title
Coach writes farewell letter to team
By Erik Buchinger
The Hortonville High School dance team won its first ever state championship in Division II Pom at the WACPC State Dance Competition in La Crosse on Saturday, Feb. 4.
Kiara Wolfgram is in her final season as Hortonville’s head coach and said it was an experience she and her team will never forget.
“It was crazy, a surreal moment,” Wolfgram said. “I kind of want to go back and do it again because it all just happened so fast. I’ve been coaching for eight years, and it’s something you dream about, and it finally came true, so it’s crazy and hard to describe.”
Junior dancer Molly Streubel described the accomplishment as overwhelming.
“It was absolute excitement, and I was overjoyed,” Streubel said. “We put in so much work and so much effort, and we all came together as a team and finally reached our goals.”
Wolfram said she could sense the team was nervous going into its performance, but in a positive way.
“There was something in the air that day where things were just in our favor,” Wolfgram said. “Things were lined up for us to win, and while yes, they were nervous, but it was a good nervous and a good energy, and they killed it.”
The team performed at 9 a.m. and had to wait for the judges’ ruling at 3 p.m.
Wolfgram said she had an unusual feeling as the team waited to hear what the judges decided.
“I did have a very weird, calm feeling,” Wolfgram said. “Normally at state, I’m anxious, but I don’t know, there was just this calm feeling that they had so much fun, and they did great, and I just went into it with a different feeling this year.”
Streubel said the competition at state was so difficult that she did not know how Hortonville had performed compared to other teams.
“I honestly had no idea,” Streubel said. “There were so many ifs, and there were so many amazing teams there this year that it was all just what the judges saw. I watched every other routine in our division, and I thought they looked good too, so it was such a stiff competition. It was all just a big question mark in my mind.”
Teams were announced from fifth place to first place, and when Hortonville had yet to hear its name called at third place, sophomore dancer Maiah Duin said the team was getting anxious.
“We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re either going to win this thing or we didn’t even place,’” Duin said. “Then they called off second place, and when they called us for first place, it was super exciting.”
Duin said she is proud to be on the team that won the school’s first state championship.
“It was really exciting,” Duin said. “It was kind of unexpected because we’ve never won state before, so it was just a really great feeling as a team to accomplish that.”
Streubel was named to the Division I All-State team for the second time, and Duin made her first All-State team.
“They’re both fantastic technical dancers,” Wolfgram said. “Their solos are on their own. They choreograph them, they work on them, so I can’t take credit for any of that. They bring that extra technical ability that I don’t have personally as a coach.”
Hortonville will advance to a national competition in Orlando from March 2 through March 7.
Wolfgram will be unable to go with the team, as she is currently pregnant with twins. Assistant coach Ashley Hibbard will be taking the team to nationals, while Wolfgram said she hopes to watch the performances on FaceTime.
Her official due date is April 10, but with twins, Wolfgram said she is expecting the babies to arrive sometime in March.
“I am resigning as head coach of the dance team after this season,” Wolfgram said. “It was a very hard decision to make, but after coaching for the past eight years, it is time to take on a new role in life. I am so excited to be a mom to these two little girls.”
Wolfgram’s official resignation was approved at the Hortonville School Board meeting on Monday, Feb. 13 with the dance team in attendance.
Below is the letter Wolfgram sent to her team thanking them, as she will be moving on from her position as Hortonville’s head dance coach.
“Coaching this team for the past eight years has truly been an unbelievable experience…. This team has been my hobby, my passion and my heart for so long. When I took over this team I had big hopes and dreams and the journey has been one I will never forget! We went from taking last at every single competition to winning a State Championship and I couldn’t be more proud! You girls and each group that has come before has left a special place in my heart that I will carry with me forever. Every team I have coached has committed themselves to this team, this program and me. There have been tears, laughter, successes, failures, heartache and more memories than I know what to do with and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it.
There is also a time when you realize that your team doesn’t need you anymore! You girls are not champions because of me, you are champions because of the internal drive and determination you have to be great. Your ability to overcome obstacles, work together as a team, push yourselves past your limits and then some more is what makes this team so special! There is one month left of this season and I plan to savor every minute of it! I want to thank you girls for being you! Thank you for giving everything you could, for believing in me and my crazy ideas, for sticking it out even on the hardest days! You drove me crazy more times than I count but I wouldn’t have wanted to coach any other team! My heart is full!”