SOUTH OGDEN -- Savannah Lancaster never considered herself a pageant girl, so when she just walked away from the national Miss Teen Dance Drill Team USA pageant with the first place crown she was surprised and honored.
The 15-year-old has been dancing since she was 3 and doesn't remember her life without dancing. She is on the drill team at Bonneville High School as a Lakette and also takes private dance classes.
One of her instructors suggested she try the local Teen Dance Drill Team contest, but she was a little skeptical.
"I had gone to dance contests, but I had never done any interviewing or modeling or anything like that so I didn't know what to think," Lancaster said.
But she gave it a try and was shocked when she won on the state level. She was soon off to southern California to compete in the national contest a few weeks ago. She accompanied 12 other girls from Utah to the pageant along with two advisors. Lancaster was the only "teen" in the competition with the other girls competing in the older level. Because Lancaster is 15, she was able to qualify for the teen portion of the event.
In California she spent four days with choreographers in workshops learning new dance moves for the competition, an invaluable dancing experience for Lancaster. She was also given lessons on how to interview and model.
"It was all so surreal," Lancaster said.
When Lancaster went to the national competition her goal was to make the top 10 or maybe even the top five. So when she was crowned with the title she was completely thrilled, said Lancaster's mom, Heidi Iverson.
Iverson has watched her daughter work incredibly hard at dance through her life and has loved every minute of it.
"It has been really exciting and unexpected," Iverson said of the contest, but at the same time she is not surprised by her daughter's success.
"When she puts her mind to something she accomplishes it," Iverson said.
She looks forward to the new opportunities the pageant win may provide for her daughter. Lancaster made many new friends at the competition and has since been invited to other workshops in other states.
"I met so many really great people and dancers," she said.
Lancaster isn't sure she wants to jump into the pageant world with traditional pageants quite yet, but hasn't ruled out the idea of doing this same pageant next year in the higher age division.
She also keeps herself busy with many other activities. She will travel to Florida next week for the national DECA competition. DECA is the international association of marketing students. She also loves to play tennis and was on Bonneville's tennis team in the fall.
She would love to see her career move in the direction of dance, but wants to keep her options open. She also has interests in the medical field. For now, she is loving being a Lakette and doesn't complain about early morning and after school practices. Her team took second in the state competition.