The most unlikely game has united a group of Wagener girls who have used their electric slide and Cupid shuffle moves to gain local, state and international recognition.
The game is double Dutch, and Coach Joy Holman – the physical education teacher for Busbee Elementary and A.L. Corbett Middle – said the teams have pushed their game to a level that led them to compete against teams from all over the country and world in recent months.
Holman coaches several teams in the area and said the three teams from Wagener have shown amazing growth. The teams are the fourth graders, or Aiken 1; the fifth graders, who are Aiken 2; and the sixth graders, who are Aiken 3.
“They do line dancing in the ropes to help improve their techniques,” Holman explained. “They've done the Cupid shuffle, the electric slide and other dances that have really helped their game.”
The girls' success started back in April when they competed in a regional competition in Sumter. The three teams did so well they qualified for May's state competition in Charleston.
“They did really well in the state, and all of them placed either second or third in most of the events,” Holman said.
The state competition elevated the girls to an international contest back in Sumter on June 13 and 14. Fellow coach Michael Peterson said his girls from Columbia joined forces with Holman's girls from Wagener and took a total of 22 teams to the world contest.
At the competition, the girls faced off against teams from New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and from as far away as Japan.
Out of those 22 teams, 21 of them made it through the first round and competed in the championship round on June 14.
At the competition, Wagener's fourth grade girls placed fourth in singles and second in doubles. The fifth graders placed fifth in singles and third in doubles, and the sixth graders placed fourth in singles and third in doubles.
Peterson said it was the first time a Wagener team competed in the regional, state and world contests.
“Our hats go off to a terrific group of kids and parents,” he said. “This is a great accomplishment for the hometown jumpers at this stage in their development.”
“They looked good and made very few mistakes. I kept telling them to prepare themselves, and they really listened and got to see how much their hard work paid off,” Holman added.
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June 2013. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.
Submitted photo Double Dutch coaches Joy Holman and Michael Peterson took 22 double Dutch girls teams from the Aiken and Columbia areas to a competition in Sumter last month. The coaches said all of the teams did really well.×
Submitted photo Right – Imani Brown, left, performs with her double Dutch teammates, Jordan Baker, who is balancing on her hands, Kaylin Hammonds, who is holding Jordan, and Tori Rhinehart. The four were one of 22 teams who competed at an world competition last month in Sumter.×