Black Lightning, Owen Brown Middle School's 10-member girls' double Dutch jump rope team, has struck, winning a trophy at the state's first double Dutch competition.
The bad news is that because some of the seventh-grader team members could not afford the $65 each to advance to the World Double Dutch Invitational Championship, the team will not compete in it Thursday at the University of Maryland College Park. The deadline to register was June 5.
"That's the unfortunate part of it," said Ameedah Abdullah, the girls' coach. "It's a rather anticlimactic ending to all of it. We had pretty high hopes of getting there."
On May 14, the girls joined eight other teams competing at the first Maryland Double Dutch Final Competition in Largo.
The girls' doubles team won second place in the doubles competition in the free-style category, which involves dance moves and acrobatics.
Because this was Maryland's first double Dutch competition, a small pool of contestants competed and most were virtually guaranteed a chance to advance.
When some of the Black Lightning girls couldn't pay their registration fees, those who could afford the fee lost their enthusiasm for the competition, Ms. Abdullah said.
The Owen Brown reading teacher created the team in October to give the girls something to do.
"I think we just ran into a time problem we couldn't overcome at the last minute," she said. "It's disappointing. Next year, we'll have more time to prepare for it."
Representatives of the Maryland State Double Dutch League, which runs the competition, could not be reached for comment.
In double Dutch, two turners swing two ropes simultaneously in a crisscross pattern for one or two jumpers, sometimes at lightning speed and with finesse.
The Kangaroo Kids, a Howard County demonstration precision jump-rope team, also competed in the May competition and won in several categories.
Its high school team members grabbed the tournament's second fastest jump-rope speed, and its sixth-grade team won in the doubles competition and will advance to the world invitational tournament, said James E. McCleary, a coach for Kangaroo Kids.