Railiners make TOC appearance after two-year hiatus


NHS Railiners

The Tournament of Champions is a time-honored tradition at Newton High School. NHS has hosted this tournament for 60 years that brings in wrestlers from all over Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. TOC is a two-day tournament for the boys, with Friday consisting of the preliminary rounds of competition and the finals being held on Saturday. TOC finals are huge, bringing in a large student section, pyrotechnics and other NHS activities, such as the cheer team, the drumline and the dance team.
This was the dance team’s first performance at TOC in two years, their last being before the pandemic. For every member of the team, this was their first TOC performance. Junior Mckinley Mueller was very excited to perform at TOC and her team to show off their dance routines that they worked very hard on.
“I’m a little nervous because it’s my first time, it’s all of our first time dancing at TOC, but it’s also a very exciting feeling,” Mueller said.
The process of making up the TOC routines consists of head coach Amy Yarberry, choreographing. Mueller says that Amy teaches the team chunks at a time and after her team learns it. They then clean up the routine and keep practicing for a couple of weeks until they have to perform. This performance was very different for the Railiners since they were performing on wrestling mats instead of the gym floor for the first time.
“Some of my teammates have talked about the wrestling mats and we’re a little nervous because it’s squishy. Also, it’s hip-hop, so it’s not like we’re doing turns. I think it’ll take a little bit to get used to, but, once we’re on it, all of our nerves will calm down,” Mueller said.
Sophomore Iris Whitlock explains how it was the first time for all the Railiners to be performing at TOC in two years because of COVID in 2021, and then last year too many dancers got sick and couldn’t perform.
“I am very excited to perform at TOC, it’ll be a fun experience and we have a great dance,” Whitlock said. “We are performing one dance at TOC since we are currently very busy trying to get dances ready for basketball season and for other upcoming performances and competitions,” Whitlock said.
Sophomore Natalie Cassant adds that she has been doing dance since she can remember. She was very excited to perform at TOC but is a little nervous. She feels nervous because they have never done it before, but explains that she is more excited to try this new experience.
“I am super pumped for TOC. We are excited to cheer on the wrestlers and perform this hype routine,” Cassant said.