Troy Pop Rocks jump rope team to open performance season Friday


For the Miami Valley Today



Provided photo  Members of last year’s Troy Pop Rocks team perform at the 2019 Ohio High School Athletic Association girls state basketball tournament.

Provided photo Members of last year’s Troy Pop Rocks team perform at the 2019 Ohio High School Athletic Association girls state basketball tournament.


The Troy Pop Rocks Performance 2019-2020 Schedule includes:

• Springboro High School at Northmont High School, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

• Dixie High School at Brookville High School, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

• Wayne High School at Centerville High School, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

• Milton-Union High School at Miami East High School, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

• Houston High School at Botkins High School, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

• Catholic Central High School at Troy Christian High School, Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

• Rutgers University at University of Illinois, men’s basketball, Jan. 11, time to be determined

• North Carolina University at University of Pittsburgh, men’s basketball, Jan. 18 at noon

• North Carolina State University at Georgia Tech University, men’s basketball, Jan. 25 at 4 p.m.

• Xenia High School at Sidney High School, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

• Greenville High School at Piqua High School, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

• University of Rhode Island at University of Dayton, men’s basketball, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

• Piqua High School at Troy High School, Feb. 14 at 7:15 p.m.

• Virginia Tech University at Duke University, men’s basketball, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m.

• St. Bonaventure University at University of Dayton, women’s basketball, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.

• University of Auburn at University of Tennessee, men’s basketball, March 7 at noon

• OHSAA Girls State Basketball Tournament, St. John Arena, Columbus, March 13, time to be determined

• OHSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament, Schottenstein Center, Columbus, March 20, time to be determined

TROY — The nationally renowned Troy Pop Rocks jump rope team will begin its 11th season Friday with the first of 19 performances that will continue through mid-March.

“It’s exciting to get a chance to get out there and perform,” Troy Pop Rocks coach Josh Oakes said.

The Troy Pop Rocks is a performance jump rope team that performs at halftime of both high school and college basketball games. There are 26 Troy City Schools jumpers on the team this year in grades 3-8. The team is coached by Oakes and assistant Sharon Freeman.

The Pop Rocks will perform locally at a number of high schools this season, including Troy (Feb. 14), Miami East (Dec. 14) and Troy Christian (Jan. 4). They will close the season on back-to-back weekends at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state basketball tournaments March 13 (girls) and March 20 (boys).

They also will perform at a number of colleges and universities, including Duke University (Feb. 22), the University of Illinois (Jan. 11), the University of Pittsburgh (Jan. 18), Georgia Tech University (Jan. 25) and the University of Tennessee (March 7).

“The whole month of December is all high schools, which is nice, because it gives the kids a chance to perform a few times before they get into an overwhelming experience like some of the colleges we go to,” Oakes said. “It seems like January and February, we go to some of the bigger arenas. That’s a unique experience for them. A lot of them may never have a chance to experience anything like that ever again in their entire lives.”

What started as an after-school activity 11 years ago has grown into a team that routinely receives standing ovations from basketball crowds that have approached 20,000.

“I think it helps them learn that when they’ve been working so hard for something, other people will appreciate that,” Oakes said. “It’s nice to be able to put a smile on peoples’ faces. You don’t know what’s going on with peoples’ daily lives, so any time we have a chance to do that, I think that’s a special opportunity.

Many of the Pop Rocks practice their jump rope skills and tricks all season. Some will attend jump rope camps in the summer and perform at a Dayton Dragons baseball game. The full team begins practice in August, frequently practicing four times a week until the performance season opens in December.

“We practice 9-10 hours a week, plus on top of that, they are going to school all day,” Oakes said. “It wears them out at times. But I still don’t think they kids would change that. They love coming to practice. They are willing to make the sacrifice. The rewards come to them when they see how people react to them. These kids don’t get intimidated when they go out and perform in front of people because they know they’ve put the work in. That really builds their confidence. This is a great opportunity for them.”

Provided photo Members of last year’s Troy Pop Rocks team perform at the 2019 Ohio High School Athletic Association girls state basketball tournament.
https://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2019/12/web1_pop-rocks-press-release.jpgProvided photo Members of last year’s Troy Pop Rocks team perform at the 2019 Ohio High School Athletic Association girls state basketball tournament.

For the Miami Valley Today

The Troy Pop Rocks Performance 2019-2020 Schedule includes:

• Springboro High School at Northmont High School, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

• Dixie High School at Brookville High School, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

• Wayne High School at Centerville High School, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

• Milton-Union High School at Miami East High School, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

• Houston High School at Botkins High School, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

• Catholic Central High School at Troy Christian High School, Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

• Rutgers University at University of Illinois, men’s basketball, Jan. 11, time to be determined

• North Carolina University at University of Pittsburgh, men’s basketball, Jan. 18 at noon

• North Carolina State University at Georgia Tech University, men’s basketball, Jan. 25 at 4 p.m.

• Xenia High School at Sidney High School, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

• Greenville High School at Piqua High School, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

• University of Rhode Island at University of Dayton, men’s basketball, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

• Piqua High School at Troy High School, Feb. 14 at 7:15 p.m.

• Virginia Tech University at Duke University, men’s basketball, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m.

• St. Bonaventure University at University of Dayton, women’s basketball, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.

• University of Auburn at University of Tennessee, men’s basketball, March 7 at noon

• OHSAA Girls State Basketball Tournament, St. John Arena, Columbus, March 13, time to be determined

• OHSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament, Schottenstein Center, Columbus, March 20, time to be determined