State champs at double dutch jump for shot at world title
"Ready? Set? Begin!" yells Dyneesha Gooding like a teenage drill sergeant. She swings two jump ropes in opposition with Samantha Brown, while Vanda Oliveira begins a rhythmic jog in the middle, shifting her feet as the ropes pass underneath, faster and faster. "Left! Right! Up, Vanda!"
The 17-year-old girls -- all from Dorchester, friends since kindergarten, and sporting canary yellow T-shirts with the fiery logo of the Girl Scouts, Patriots' Trail Council Rope Burners -- pause as Sharrice Perkins joins in.
The four girls and their 12 teammates are preparing for the American Double Dutch League World Invitational Championships, which begin June 14 in Sumter, S.C.
"We like to have fun," said Perkins, who said the team's best record is fifth in the annual jump-rope competition. The four have competed six times and are state champs in double dutch, in which two ropes are rotated in opposite directions. "We have to remind ourselves it's not the end of the world if we don't win."
Jasmin Davis, 15, jumping with Kingslea Allen, 15, and Teraja Sullivan, 14, is slightly nervous. "I've been three times now. But this year, they're going to expect more, because we're in high school." She's readying her secret weapon: a round-off-like flip. Also making the 18-hour trip: Jaida Adams, Maia Dougherty, Sarina Gaines, Jazmine Casado, Kiara Williams, Cheyenne Morning, Amber Edwards, Krystal Edwards, and Ashanti Lacet.
Last week, the girls worked out at the Orchard Gardens Community Center in Roxbury under the watchful eye of coach, and Perkins's mom, Angela Francis. The trip will be a good time, she said, between the competition, dinners out, and squirt gun fights in the hotel pool. "I basically let them have a lot of fun. I'm not one of those coaches who's just about winning. I just want us to do the best we can do."
PAYSHA STOCKTON RHONE