The Midlothian Pantherette dance team will be heading to Fort Worth on March 21-22 to compete in the national dance competition. They have a total of eight routines that they will perform in hopes of bringing the national title back to Midlothian.

Drill team director, Nicole Butler said she believes the girls will be ready to perform at the highest level possible.

“I think they're ready to go and compete,” Butler said. “They've worked really hard all year and they realize how important this is.”

Butler said they got a taste of what this really means after their competition at Texas State last month. The team competed in the Showmakers competition where they brought home the state championship. The officers, which is made up of a team of six girls, performed three routines during that particular competition. They were judged on their appearance, costumes, technique, movements, transitions, precision and showmanship.

Butler said the team began learning the routines back in October of 2013, and as soon football season was over it was time to prepare for competition.

“As soon as football season ends they start kicking things into gear,” she said. “From that point on it's go, go, go. During that time, they have to learn a jazz, contemporary and a modern routine.”

She said when the team won the state championship they were surprised.

“They didn't realize at first that it was state competition,” Butler said. “They had never been to this particular contest so they didn't know what to expect. They had no idea how big of a contest it really was.”

She said even though it was exciting to win the state competition, she is anxious to see how her team will fair on the national level.

“It takes a lot to become a Pantherette,” Butler said. “And as we get ready for nationals, the competition will only get stiffer.”

It's a possibility that there will be different girls performing in nationals than at the state competition, because each girl must tryout for each competition.

Butler, who has been serving as the director for the past two years said she understands exactly what it takes because she has been where they are.

“I graduated from MHS and was a Pantherette myself,” she said. “So I understand how much dedication and hard work it takes to be a part of this team. These girls work extremely hard and are very dedicated to what they do.”

She said she has very high expectations for the team and is looking forward to the national competition.