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Amanda Youngberg, MHS Dance Team, Is The Montgomery News Athlete of the Month for September

Courgarette Amanda Youngberg

Senior Amanda Youngberg has been dancing for what seems to be her entire life, having started at two years of age.

She joined the Montgomery High School dance team as a freshman, having never done “competitive” dance. She learned fast, and her hard work earned her the role of co-captain.

Last season, the Cougarettes placed seventh for hip hop at the National Dance Team Championship at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. They also placed first in hip hop at the state championship, and placed third for jazz.

Amanda says a lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into a dance performance.

“What people see is the finished product,” she says. “What they don’t see is ... the practice and workouts that go into it. When we learn the dance, not everyone has the same skill level. We all work together to get the same difficult skills.”

Amanda is an accomplished solo dancer. In her sophomore and junior years, she was selected to compete as a soloist at the Battle of the Northeast Regional Competition. She placed third in her age group in the 2019 competition.

This past July, Amanda competed at the Universal Dance Association (UDA) camp in Pennsylvania and received the All American title.

When asked who she looks up to most, Amanda named both her teammate, sophomore Sara Maslanka, and her coach, Ashley Brower.

Amanda says Sara’s relentless drive throughout the season, despite her lack of experience, is what impressed her.

“She came into the team just how I was: I was never on a competitive dance team. But she came in and she worked so hard and was so driven. It’s hard getting to November doing things over and over and over again, but she kept that drive which is really impressive to me.”

When talking about her coach, Amanda says: “She came into the team last year not knowing any of us, but she made everyone so motivated and still have a good time while working out, which is really hard to do. She’s so motivating to all of us.”

Amanda describes her leadership style as encouraging and motivating, working together not only as dancers, but as people.

Her favorite part of dance is having long practices with the team, because “it’s really rewarding to see everyone so tired and know we’ve accomplished so much, and then having it all show when we go to competition and perform at games.”

Coach Ashley comments on Amanda’s leadership, sharing: “She brings something to the table that no one else can. Amanda is one of the most

selfless people I know. She puts everyone on the team first. She’s supportive, she’s encouraging, she’s strong, and passionate about what she does. Every time she comes to practice it’s always 110 percent all the time, and I feel like that’s a great quality to look up to on the team.”

Lastly, Amanda shared that dance has taught her how to keep motivated not only in dance but also in school. “We’re all working toward nationals and to be the best we can possibly be. And it’s really taught me how to keep myself motivated and keep my eye on the goal.” ■

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