We were at Florida Top Dog’s showcase in Largo, Florida on Sunday, scoping out what their teams plan on bringing to the competition mat this season. Florida Top Dog has seven full-year teams competing this season, ranging from mini 1 to senior coed 5. Click on the photos to view photo galleries of each team, and keep reading for a recap of each team’s routine!
Most of our readers are already familiar with Rain, the gym’s Worlds team that competes in the Small Senior Coed 5 division. This year’s team is making full use of the new rules that went into effect this season, including having the maximum 5 boys (in the past, small coed teams were only allowed 4), making their stunts even stronger and their baskets even higher. Over the past three years, Rain has always been a top contender in a very large, very tough division at Worlds, finishing within the top 15 each year including one top ten finish. This year they’ve packed so much difficulty into their routine to prove that they’re not playing around and are hoping for another top ten finish, if not top five. It’s incredible to see such tough skills being hit in a routine in mid-November, and we can’t wait to see how this routine evolves throughout the season. Our personal favorite was the pyramid section, where the flyers were executing more flips and inverts than we’ve ever seen in a small coed routine!
Another notable team that has gone viral on social media in past years is their special needs team, the Rainbows. The creativity that goes into making their routine is evident once they hit the floor, and the smiles on the faces of both the athletes and the spectators says it all. Rainbows are not only fun to watch, but these kids can DANCE! Once the final section’s music started playing and the athletes started busting a move, the entire showcase crowd went wild! Be on the lookout for the Rainbows at UCA Nationals this season.
While Florida Top Dog has dominated the level 4 competition in past years with their old team G4, last year they found that they had outgrown the division with their current talent and moved into the Restricted 5 division instead. The move paid off, with their R5 team Thunder finishing in second place at the Summit in a big division with lots of tough competitors, edging out teams from mega-gyms like Cheer Athletics and Woodlands Elite. This year’s team is hoping for a first-place Summit win in the Small Senior Restricted 5 division, and they certainly have the skills and talent to do so. In addition to their stunts and pyramid, the highlight of this year’s routine is their unique ending, which includes a sassy dance section and fun ending pose.
One of the amazing things about Florida Top Dog is that their talent isn’t limited to their upper-level teams. Their focus on technique is evident all the way down to their mini 1 team, Drizzle. In every back walkover and cartwheel you see straight legs and pointed toes, along with perfect timing in their team tumbling sections.
The same goes for their Senior 2 Prep team Haze. It’s unusual to see a prep team displaying such perfect form in stunts and tumbling, and we are loving it! You can tell that the coaches have emphasized good form in their flyers, who were all hitting perfect arabesques with straight legs and their chests held up high. Watch out for Haze in the Senior 2 Prep division this year; they are going to be hard to beat!
Another team whose dance section is sure to be a crowd-pleaser is Frost, the gym’s Junior 2 team. While all of the athletes slayed the dance, our favorite part was when one of the boys comes out front and center doing real b-boy hip hop dance moves. You don’t see that too often, especially from younger teams, and that is sure to make Frost stand out to the judges this season! Their jumps section was equally impressive, with toe touches in the back row looking just as good as those in the front row. It’s incredibly rare to see a team full of perfect jumps, but Frost has pulled it off!
Of course, no gym is without it’s challenges, and Florida Top Dog was thrown one such challenge with their level 3 team, Tsunami. After losing a few younger kids, and having newcomers join the gym with no age-appropriate team to put them on, coaches made the decision to bump Tsunami up from a Junior 3 team to a Senior Coed 3 team just a month and a half before showcase. Because of the recent switch, the team did not perform their pyramid at showcase, but the rest of their routine was jaw-dropping. Their basket tosses were so high that the flyers looked like they could touch the ceilings if they wanted to! We were also impressed with the technique and synchronization in their tumbling sections – no frog-legged back handsprings in the bunch! Aside from the missing pyramid section, you would have never known by their showcase performance that this was a newly-formed team, and we can’t wait to see what the routine will look like once it’s completed.
We’d like to thank Florida Top Dog All Stars for having us at their showcase and allowing us to have this sneak peek at their routines. Best of luck to all teams this season, and we look forward to seeing all that you will accomplish this year!