The Starlettes Dance Team from St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School competed in the Universal Dance Association’s National Dance Team Championship earlier this month in Orlando, Florida.

The Starlettes competed against more than 120 small varsity teams from across the country who qualified to compete at the NDTC. They advanced to the finals in the hip-hop division and also advanced to the small varsity jazz semifinals, finishing the weekend with a 10th-place national trophy in the small varsity hip-hop category, a news release from the school said.

The 2014-15 Starlettes are freshmen Madalynn Bouterie, Londyn Daniel and Rachel Pistorius; sophomore Nancy Donnes; juniors Chloe Chauvin, Haileigh Bolton, Emily Owens and Cailin Sampey; and seniors Skylar Compton, Isabella Perrilloux and Sydney St. Pierre.

“This is an amazing experience,” Compton said. “I have been on the team for four years and have been ranked in the Top 10 in the nation all four years. You can’t beat that feeling. STA competes against hundreds of schools from across the country — most of which are far larger than us. We talk to teams who are astonished that we are a coed school of only 350 students.”

Compton said hearing the ESPN announcers call out “From Hammond, Louisiana, the St. Thomas Aquinas Starlettes” every time they perform adds a dimension to the competition that benefits our entire community. “This is a national event, televised on ESPN. The Starlettes are not only representing St. Thomas Aquinas but also Hammond, the Diocese of Baton Rouge and our entire community.”

The Starlettes also received second place in jazz, Louisiana State Dance Championship; first place, Hammond Knights Twist & Shout Competition; and first place in home routine, UDA Camp.

UDA is the largest dance company in the world, training more than 30,000 dancers each summer in more than 600 camp sessions across the country, the news release said. UDA hosts more than 30 regional competitions each year for high school, college and all-star teams.

The National Dance Team Championship is the only national championship endorsed by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The event is broadcast on ESPN2 and reaches more than 100 million homes each year, the release said.