Well I really don’t know what happened to make January go so fast, but we’re on the last hurrah for the invitational season starting today. JV championships and final performances are happening this weekend as teams head into the post season for varsity starting next week. Congratulations on a great year to those of you taking a bow for the last time on JV and B levels. You are the future of dance team! The varsity divisions this weekend are always where I find a few of my dark horses for the post season. There’re always a few teams that get “hot” at the very end, and the savvy spectators will be in for a treat if they can catch these programs on the rise. This weekend’s score report will be more about where you’re going than where you’ve been.
As the sections and state season kicks in, be sure to check back for updated leaderboards, section composite scoreboard, state tournament spectators guide, and of course a preview of the state apparel. I have gotten a sneak peak at of some of the concept art for this year’s designs and I get butterflies just thinking about when the best day of the year will finally be here. 3 short weeks and it’s time for STATE. If you haven’t made the pilgrimage to Target Center before, it’s well worth the trip in to enjoy the dancing and 2 days of straight fun. Start thinking travel plans now, hotels fill up fast. First things first, its invite time.
Camden Conference Championship: Friday night’s conference championship action starts off at Tracy with the Camden championships. Lac Qui Parle Valley and Yellow Medicine East will be favored, but Canby, Renville County West, and Paynesville/BBE will want to make their mark. 6:30pm start.
Hiawatha Valley League Conference Championships: Stewartville will host the Friday night event for HVL. Lake City, Cannon Falls, Kasson Mantorville, Goodhue, and Zumbrota Mazeppa should be looking strong. Kasson being AA keeps things interesting in their first matchup of the year against the class A crowd. 7pm start
Heart O’Lakes Conference Championship: Wadena hosts the far north conference Friday night with Frazee, DGF, and Bagley all having strong placements so far in the conference season. Pelican Rapids and United Clay Becker will try to mix things up.
Simley Invitational: Simley’s been sneaky good this year and they’ve got a chance to prove it at home this weekend. Hutchinson, Marshall, Rocori, Mound Westonka, Austin, Waconia, and South St. Paul will all be on hand to make this a classic invite of the year. Keep an eye on Austin and Rocori scores for section implications. Anyone from 3AA though is probably a toss up until that final meet actually happens.
Monticello Invitational: The most diverse mix this weekend happens at Monticello with Delano, Andover, St. Cloud Apollo, Holy Family, Alexandria, Chisago Lakes, North Branch, and New London Spicer all doing something good in their respective classes and divisions. Scores worth noting: Holy Family, Chisago Lakes.
Dover Eyota Invitational: Section 1A goes to it on Saturday with St. Charles, Houston, Zumbrota Mazeppa, Wabasha Kellogg, and Lewiston Altura all having strong seasons so far. I feel like less is up in the air for 1A than usual, so whatever happens here should give us indication of final outcomes at sections. 1A jazz is only advancing 2 places (I hate it when this happens!) because of lack of participating teams, so the drama is a little deflated. Section 3A just got more interesting with 4 advancing jazz spots.
Mid-State Conference Championships: Aitkin takes on neighborhood rival Crosby at Pequot Lakes. Detroit Lakes is my under-the-radar team to catch here.
GFW Invitational: GFW middle school is the main gym for this event, with BOLD, Richfield, PACT Charter, and New Ulm Cathedral getting in a final showing. With 4 spots in 3A jazz to state, keep an eye out for BOLD’s scores against what happens at Camden Conference. PACT will want to maintain a lead over scores from Hiawatha Valley League participants.
Blaine Invitational: The bengalettes all AAA invitational will be the final rehearsal for much of section 4AAA. Forest Lake, Brainerd, Maple Grove, Centennial, and Blaine should turn in strong performances. Keep an eye on the Maple Grove and Brainerd matchup especially since they’re both having exceptionally strong seasons.
Mounds View Winterfest: The JV championships at Mounds View are such a great idea for honoring the contributions and hard work of our lower level programs. 11 JVs and 9 B squads will square off for medals this weekend. Varsity final runs from Edina, Anoka, Eagan, Mounds View will be worth catching in between JVs.
New Prague Invitational: The easy-going day here will feature Farmington, Albert Lea, Jordan, St. Croix Prep, New Ulm, Rochester John Marshall against the Trojans. The tiger teams (both Farmington and Albert Lea) will be quietly making scoresheet moves in anticipation of their sectional push.