Canby Dancers Headed to State Championships, Hungry for Return to Glory

The Canby Cougar dancers are rounding into top form at just the right time, as the talented team of athletes prepares to strut their stuff at the OSAA Dance and Drill State Championships this week at the Salem Pavilion.

The Cougs wrapped up their regular season at the “Road to State” competition at West Linn High School Saturday, March 4, winning first in both the traditional and show divisions and improving their team scores in both events.

Senior Marissa VanHoose also finished in the top 10 in advanced drill down. The team is led by head coach Jenn Chaffee, choreographer James Healey and assistant coach Jenna Jernstrom.

“Thank you to our amazing prop parents, food parents, hair and makeup help, costume help and the best cheer section ever!” the team said in a Facebook post. “We couldn’t do what we love without your support!”

The Canby Cougars formed a dynasty of excellence in the 2010s as one of the most dominant high school dance teams in Oregon, winning five straight state titles in the show division from 2015 to 2019.

The Cougs wowed with an exhibition of their traditional and show routines at Canby High School’s Winter Festival of Dance last month. Photos by Tyler Francke.

The team was set to compete for an unprecedented sixth championship in 2020, when the tournament was canceled mere days before it was set to begin due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the championships returned in 2022, Canby’s title defense again ended in disappointment, as a penalty bumped the Cougs to a third-place finish.

The OSAA Dance and Drill State Championships will be held Friday and Saturday, March 17 and 18, at the Salem Pavilion. Canby’s show and traditional performances are scheduled for Friday evening.

For more information or to get tickets, visit the OSAA’s website.

Fans can also see the team’s 2023 routines and show their support by attending Friends and Family Night at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, at the Canby High School Main Gym.

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