Well we made another trip around the sun and it’s time for
the 10th annual Sections Preview.
Sometimes I have to catch myself when it feels like I’m not getting a
day older, but somehow my first state was 22 years ago. Turns out this tradition easily snuck up into
10 years old when I wasn’t paying attention.
Case and point, when I first saw the Totino Grace jazz routine for 19-20
my first reaction was – “they’ve done this song before!” (and it’s a classic)
Then I had to make myself count back and realize just how long ago 1999 really
was. None of the kids on the team now
were alive back then. Talk about a reality check. You know you had a good dance if it still
feels like it was just being crowned state champs yesterday.
Fortunately, there’s still plenty of room in my dance team
memory bank for more of your fabulous routines of 2020. The great thing about this time of year is
each weekend of sections and state – someone’s going to do something
special. I can’t wait to see you all
achieve that moment for yourselves.
This kind of speculation is hard because every year I have
to share opinions that are only my own, in an attempt to provide dance team with
sports reporting coverage. Just know I wish all our high school athletes the
best of luck and I admire all your hard work this year. Our students are what make this sport special
and I want to take a minute to acknowledge all of you.
Section 4A: Wadena High School
The only A event this weekend will probably have the
greatest shakeups we’ll see this year in that class. Frazee is looking traditionally strong, then
opportunities await. Duluth Marshall and
Aitkin are in the mix, but newcomers from Dilworth GF and Pierz are having
great years with solid scores. Crosby
and Bagley are in the hunt in the kick division as they have been the last few
years. If you’re keeping count, that’s 7
teams with 3 berths available in each style.
Really this might be a chance for DGF who always seems to be just
outside looking in to make a real move.
Pierz is also a sentimental favorite after years of state appearances in
their history but a long drought recently.
No matter what, there will be both tears of joy and real disappointment
after this one.
Section 2AA: North Branch High School
As is tradition here, Benilde St. Margarets and Totino Grace
will be looking to see who gets top honors.
These two haven’t really matched up much or competed frequently enough
for me to get a sense of who’s really doing well. Totino has more recent scores, but I never
count out the Knightettes either. As for
the battle for 3rd place, Zimmerman would like to make their second
trip to Target Center, and Hermantown/Proctor has their eyes on the prize as
well. St. Francis, North Branch, and
Chisago Lakes are the dark horses here and have been quietly preparing for the
Section 3AA: Delano High School
One of my favorite AA events is always this section because
it’s just top to bottom quality. Mound
Westonka and Orono are probably a decent bet.
What order in anything is a complete guess as they have flipped momentum
back and forth during the season.
Marshall, Hutchinson, and Belle Plaine are in the thick of things for
spots, and I wouldn’t even say for sure in what styles. Speculators might take a determined Belle
Plaine group or go with consistent performers in Marshall or Hutchinson. Things are going to have to hit on the day
Section 4AA: Monticello High School
Sartell is having a banner year and look solidly in control
in this difficult section. St. Cloud
Tech continues to disrupt the status quo and has won some big events this year
that will set them up nicely. Rocori has
been making some moves on the scoresheet in the last half of the year and will
not want to settle for staying home.
Wild cards will be from St. Cloud Cathedral and Becker. Cathedral is historically a top performer,
and Becker has the confidence of a conference championship and a program-best
season. These results will certainly
have a different look than seasons past.
Section 2AAA: Edina High School
Usually this one is the most “fun” to speculate on because
everyone is so good. This weekend, this
comes in as only #3 on the drama list. (which means this is a crazy good year
in dance team!) Double state champs
Wayzata are looking like the leaders (if there is such a thing) with Maple
Grove, Edina, Eden Prairie, Chaska, Hopkins, and Chanhassen all with 80+
averages somewhere in there. Maple Grove
jazz is having a special year having come out right from day one with something
polished. Chaska’s difficult chess
themed kick routine is getting a lot of attention and should be a threat. Eden Prairie seems to be getting some of the
magic back and might be able to stand out in the crowd, but it’s not going to
be easy. Edina will have home court and
tends to shine this time of year so don’t overlook them in either style.
Section 4AAA: Forest Lake High School
Brainerd will try to repeat as double section champs here
this weekend, but kick looks like it will be a battle with Anoka. Blaine and Sauk Rapids will have a solid shot
at state tickets, with a Blaine double qualification on the horizon for the
first time in a while. Forest Lake and
Duluth East are outsiders looking in here, but with Tech moved to AA, the door
is there to walk thru.