Congratulations to our new state championship teams! Your talent, hard work, passion, and skill were in full force this past weekend at the Target Center. All the participating teams should be proud of their accomplishments to get them there. It was a state to be remembered. Here’s what ended up happening after the dust settled at state 2014.
Jazz Division – Friday February 14th 2014:
Class A: The Yellow Medicine East Silhouettes managed a repeat this year in the jazz division after a tough battle with Duluth Marshall for top honors. The Divas’ won the prelim round after a shaky performance from YME, but in the finals YME had what it took to hit it and take home the blue. Aitkin pulled some things together from a disappointing sections finish to take 3rd, while Frazee took 4th again this year. Newcomers Rockford from section 2A took 5th in their debut year and Tracy Milroy Balaton rounded out the top 6. What will be interesting for next year is if Rockford will decide to start competing kick (which would move them up to AA) now that their program is off the ground. The Rockets exhibition danced kick all year and certainly showed they have things well in hand as a successful program. Other interesting news from class A was the absence of Zumbrota from the finals after last year’s 3rd place finish. With the traditional strength of that program, the Cougars will be back for more in the future.
Class AA: Benilde St. Margarets put their final mark on the competition with Totino Grace by winning the big dance in high style. The elegant and mature dance from the Knightettes was enough to keep the Egals from getting a double blue this weekend. Sartell was a fun one to watch in this division as they took home some hardware for the first time in the jazz division, placing 3rd behind Totino Grace. South St. Paul had a first ever finals appearance (in the modern era of dance team), and Mound Westonka had a finals breakthrough as well. Simley returned to finals again this year finishing a solid 4th.
Class AAA: Eastview finally broke the hold Wayzata and Maple Grove have had on the top spots, claiming a double championship this weekend. Wayzata’s flawless and touching tribute to all things dance was a fitting piece for the 40th annual tournament, but was only enough for 2nd this time around. Maple Grove took 3rd with choreography that raised the expectations yet again for next year. Brainerd had a great showing this year, getting their first ever jazz finalists spot. St. Cloud Tech and Chaska completed the finals lineup. I enjoyed Chaska’s use of different lace tops on the dancers, keeping us from being to matchy-matchy and keeping us guessing on what they’ll bring to the table each year. My guess right now is we’ll see a few more full length body suits in jazz — it was really effective on the state floor.
Kick Division – Saturday February 15th 2014:
Class A: Aitkin had smooth sailing to the top for their Top Gun girls. The All-Stars put together a huge team each year of talented kickers who impressed enough to keep everyone at bay. Yellow Medicine East took 2nd and surprise finisher Frazee took it’s first hardware home from state, placing 3rd. It wasn’t too long ago Frazee wasn’t qualifying in kick, and didn’t make finals last year, so this was a big step up for the Fly Girls. Lac Qui Parle improved on their sections finish to end up 4th and Montevideo settled for 5th. Newcomer to finals Pelican Rapids rounded out the top 6. Last year’s finalists Lake City didn’t make finals this year and no one from sections 1 or 2 broke into the top 6 this time.
Class AA: The top 3 teams in this division were some of the most impressive heart and determination I’ve seen in a long time. Totino Grace took a kick win for the first time since 2000, breaking their long streak of 2nd and 3rd places. Sartell was hoping their was room for them at the top with Chaska gone, but had to take a 2nd this time around. Cannon Falls rounded out the top 3 in their first year in AA. They certainly showed that they are a good dance team, not just a good class A team. Austin took 4th with their Hunger Games themed dance that has really improved over the season, showing that a coaching change wasn’t going to slow them down. St. Cloud Cathedral took 5th and Academy of Holy Angels took 6th this year after not qualifying for the tournament the last 2 seasons.
Class AAA: Eastview’s Man in the Mirror was good as gold this time as they always manage to peak their dance at the right moment in finals. Their hinging box formation hit for the first time (that I’ve seen it) in finals, just as it should. Chaska who took 2nd place also continues to amaze, as I found new interesting formations every time I watched. “Oh, it’s a train” – “oh it’s bowties” – “oooh, its eyeballs moving!”. Yeah, there was a lot there to be proud of. Chaska continues to up the bar on what it means to have “theme”. Faribault took 3rd in an exciting year for them, coming up from AA with a bang. Their dance was a favorite of mine from their program since the days they were winning consecutive titles. Certainly no lack of joy from them taking home the hardware. Other top teams this year included St. Cloud Tech, Eden Prairie, and Wayzata. A few good teams were certainly left out with the addition of 2 new faces to finals. I predicted this year was going to be deep on talent, and it did not disappoint.
If you didn’t get your fix at the state tournament – don’t forget you can order the DVD of the tournament at prep45.com And coming up this next month, keep an eye out for updates on All-State, the MADT spring meeting, and talking points that came out of this season such as marking times, additional rounds of section tournaments, and more! Just because dance team season is over – doesn’t mean we’ve slowed down! Teams enjoy your season banquets, tryouts are right around the corner. 2014-15 is already underway! See you on the dancefloor.