There was a police escort into town, a pep assembly in the gym and a giant trophy on display.
Just another day on the dance floor for Villa Grove HIgh School's state champions.
"It was really cool to see, pulling into town and seeing all the support," fourth-year coach Alyssa Hudson said. "For a small community like ours, this is something big."
No one does hip-hop like the Blue Devils, who dominated that category at last weekend's Illinois Drill Team Association state finals in Springfield (the UI couldn't host the event due to renovation at State Farm Center). The varsity and junior high teams delivered state titles, continuing the program's excellence at the highest levels (five trophies and four championships in the last three years).
Coach Curtis Pulliam'sVilla Grove boys' basketball team won state in 1923. But today it's a hip-hop school.
"I guess we're starting to get known for our dancing," Hudson said.
A former dancer at Villa Grove, the 25-year-old Hudson runs a tight ship. Her team is well-behaved and well-conditioned, the Blue Devils sometimes practicing twice a day like the school's football players do in August.
"6 a.m. and 6 p.m.," she said. "It's about perfecting everything, being super nitpicky."
Sunday's celebration probably won't be the last. With only two seniors on the 15-dancer roster — captain Hannah Alvis and Taylor Quinn — the Blue Devils have a hip-hop dynasty brewing.
"Hopefully the other 13 girls will have a lot more chances for more titles," Hudson said.
Here's video of the junior high team's performance.
Here's video of the high school team's performance.