HOUSTON, Texas — Waxahachie High School made an appearance in the National Council of Dance North Houston Winter Dance Festival on Saturday at Westfield High School and placed two of its dancers in the top four.

It was less than two weeks after the two helped lead the 2017 Cherokee Charmer "Sail Away" Dance Extravaganza and 60 of Waxahachie's youth in the winter dance clinic.

The Cherokee Charmers drill team's Ashley Bosch, a senior Captain, and Lauren Lyle, a senior first lieutenant, competed against more than 100 girls representing 25 high school and studio teams throughout Texas.

"With dance competitions, we're able to register for events," Cherokee Charmer Director Erica Pointer-Wilcox said about the duo's first performance in the Houston. "That means we have the luxury of selecting which contest we want to attend — which are open to the teams in that region until it reaches capacity."

She said dancing in the competition was born from Bosch and Lyle's need to improve themselves and get invaluable critique from national-level judges before the Charmers' competition season opens, noting their desire to bring that knowledge back to their sisters-in-arms in Waxahachie.

"They took the initiative to enter that contest before we start our competition schedule Saturday," Pointer-Wilcox continued. "Knowing they went to the Houston area and finished the way they did is a great starting point. You see a lot of talent from a lot of different areas throughout the state — all with their unique styles and skills. It shows they are on their way up and that that direction is the only way for them."

Bosch received second runner-up (third place), Lyle reached the second round of the Miss High Kick Contest and the two girls finished as the first runner-up (second place) in the duet category.

Ashley and Lauren finished in the top 10 percent of competitions last year and helped Waxahachie High School finish 17th internationally against teams from Austin, Dallas, East and West Texas, Houston, Louisiana and Japan. The Charmer officers, as well as the select Elite Team, also earned a Gussie Nell Davis Award of Excellence and the officers won the Medium Team Division Hip-Hop Championship during the American Dance/Drill Team School Nationals last year.

They also received a Medium Ensemble and Elite Jazz Division I ratings from the Drill Team Council and placed as the first runner-up (second place) in the Elite Team Kick Division. The competition pits high school and studio dance teams throughout the nation against one another, as well as international countries like Japan, Germany and France.

Despite their success in 2016 and a desire to exceed the high bar set by her graduated senior class, Pointer-Wilcox said the onus of importance of her goal for this year's team lies in personal growth during each step of the season.

Waxahachie High School will Mansfield Legacy, East View (Georgetown, Texas), Lebanon Trail (Frisco, Texas) and DeSoto High Schools between Jan. 28 and Feb. 25 before traveling to the Denton's University of North Texas for the ADTS Nationals on March 25th.

"I really want the girls to get an abundance of confidence and sef-esteem and know they can do anything they want as long as they work hard enough," Pointer-Wilcox said. "Self-confidence in young women is a staple of the Charmer culture. These girls need to know that their biggest opponent is the girl staring back at them in the mirror. If they always focus on being better than they were the day before, they will always be winners."

Pointer-Wilcox and the team will hold their "Chillin with the Charmers" scholarship fundraising event, which will include food, a silent auction and performances from the Cherokee Charmers, Maidens and the Finley and Howard Chey-Annes, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 18 at George W. Solis Gymnasium. 

Tickets, which can paid for through Pointer-Wilcox, are $5. All monies are donated to the Charmer Scholarship Fund, which provides five scholarships of at least $3,000 to five Waxahachie High School seniors. 

Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter @MarcusMarionWNI.