Sapulpa Ping Pings make school history, earn two national titles

Submitted by Megan Hoey

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The Sapulpa High School Ping Ping Dance Team, consisting of 22 members and 2 coaches attended Dance Team Union (DTU) National Championships in Orlando, Florida last weekend, and brought home two DTU National Titles in two dances: Large Varsity Team Performance, which is a dance routine that combines four dance genres Pom, Jazz, Kick and Hip Hop, and Small Varsity High Kick. Their third dance routine, Small Varsity Jazz placed fifth. 

The 2021-2022 Sapulpa Ping Pings pose in front of the national champion banner, surrounding their two first-place and fifth-place trophies awarded at the Dance Team Union National Championship in Florida last week. The legendary dance team made school history this year by clenching two first-place wins at nationals—something never before done by Sapulpa Public Schools.

All dance teams attending DTU first have to dance in Preliminary rounds on Saturday in order to advance and compete in the Finals on Sunday. The Pings advanced all three dances.

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At the conclusion of Prelims, their Large Varsity Team Performance was in 2nd point position out of the eight teams advancing to Finals. The Pings finished in first place earning them a National Championship against teams such as Edison from Tulsa, Mannattee from Florida, Lafayette from Florida, a tie for second between Lee Summit North of Missouri and Pascack Valley from New Jersey.

Their High Kick dance routine was in first point position following Prelims with eight teams advancing to Finals. They earned the National Title against teams including St. Michaels from New Mexico, Tumwater from Florida, Bixby and Owasso.

Right: a closer look at the trophies after the Pings returned to Sapulpa on Monday.

Their Jazz Ensemble competed against 19 teams and placed 5th. 

Teams come from all over the nation from places such as Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Alabama, New Jersey, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Montana, Utah, Indiana, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin and more.

In addition to winning two National Titles, the Ping Pings were asked to participate in a dance battle for “bragging rights” with other routines in the same genre but not necessarily the same division.

Out of over 60 teams in the combined Battle genre of Kick/Team Performance/Military, they were one of three teams asked to participate. They battled their High Kick routine against Seminole High Kick, a multiple National Championship team, and Pascack Valley Team Performance. Seminole won the Battle for the fourth straight year, but getting asked to participate is an honor in itself.

Approximately nine other Oklahoma dance teams attended DTU Nationals this year. 

The Ping Pings have ten State Championships since this group of eight 2022 Seniors were Freshmen in 2018. They now have 3 National Championships, with the first one earned in 2020.

They are coached by Molly Heritage and Jennifer Ruetlinger. There are 22 Ping Ping team members, including eight seniors, three juniors, six sophomores, and five freshmen. Five seniors were named to the OSDTDA All State Team, and one senior was named to the East Region Team. Pings head coach Molly Heritage, who has coached the team for five years, was also recognized as OSDTDA’s East Region Coach of the Year.

Congratulations, Pings!