Grace McIntosh of Hannibal High School experienced a whirlwind 24 hours at the Universal Dance Association summer camp, where she was selected an All-American.

Grace McIntosh experienced a whirlwind 24 hours at the Universal Dance Association summer camp at Maryville University.

The senior co-captain of the Hannibal High School Glitter Girls had just one day to prepare a one-minute routine in front of a panel of judges, which she performed on Friday, July 14.

McIntosh was unfazed as she faced the challenge of learning a choreographed dance in such limited time. Come crunch time, the judges were impressed by her skill and poise.

It all added up to an unforgettable memory for the dancer, who was selected as a varsity All-American.

“That was really exciting,” McIntosh said, before keeping the focus on her squad. “Even if I got it or I didn’t, the whole team was still clapping for all the other teams and other girls. My team supported me, but they also supported the other girls and other teams as well. It’s nice to see that they’re also respectful too.”

McIntosh also earned the top honor of blue ribbons in three other dance categories.

As a result of her All-American status, the UDA offered the standout the opportunity to take a trip to London this winter with fellow winners from different regional schools for a performance in a parade.

“I would like to go,” she said of the overseas trip. “I think it would be something cool, but we’ll see. I’m not for sure yet. It would be a lot of fun. I may be the only girl from my team or this city, but you still get to meet a lot of people as well. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”

McIntosh, who also plays soccer for HHS, joined the dance team at the beginning of her sophomore year.

She is not the only member of the squad who plays another sport but still makes the schedule work. The Glitter Girls season runs from August through the end of the winter. They set practice times that accommodate each member the best way possible.

“Seeing them at football games and basketball games, it was like, ‘Well, I want to do that,’” she said of joining the dance team. “I was really interested in what they were doing. Once I was in it, I really enjoyed it.”

McIntosh is the only senior this year for the Glitter Girls, who feature an abundance of underclassmen including Blair Burton, who will serve as co-captain.

“Grace is very much a leader,” said Glitter Girls coach Heidi Broughton. “Her work ethic is top-notch. She’s a phenomenal student, a phenomenal athlete, and well-rounded.”

Following McIntosh’s lead, the squad doesn’t let its youth hold it back from success. The Glitter Girls earned a total of 32 individual blue ribbons at the four-day summer camp. Collectively, they performed their team routine on the first night and then had to wait until the final day to find out how they fared.

The team’s blue rating was the highest possible.

“That’s really a confidence booster, the fact that we have worked really hard,” McIntosh said, adding the team received a detailed critique they will take to heart. “You perform the first night you’re there and you don’t find out until the last day. We ended up getting a blue, which is nice. We definitely have a strong team this year. It is young, but it’s nice to have them.”

Many people know the Glitter Girls for their performances at Hannibal football games. While their schedule also includes other competitions, performing under the Friday night lights is undoubtedly one of the highlights of their year.

The dance team will work together to plan its performances for the 2017 football season.

“We kind of have different days for different things,” McIntosh explained. “We have Senior Night, we have the Halloween game, we have Cancer Night. We have these set games. Last year, it was the captain’s decision on what songs we did each night. But this year, we’re going back to the songs we learned at camp. We’re moving those around to where the girls who did this number can teach the whole thing and we’ll do it at a basketball game or a football game. Then from there, you start to get girls’ opinions.”

With only one year of high school remaining before McIntosh plans to enroll in college, she looks forward to one final season with the Glitter Girls.

What happens right before each of the squad’s performances may be what she’ll remember most.

“One of the things I always love, it’s something small, but before we do any performance like football, basketball, competition, we all get in a little circle,” she said. “We don’t hold hands, we put fist to fist so we’re still in contact.

“As we we’re touching hands, we say ‘5, 6, 7, 8 … zzzzzz,’ and it’s like a little electric bolt that goes through all of us and all the girls from the past. It goes from the very first girl who started dance team and continues through today.”