Experienced Sartell dance team aims for state title

Experienced Sartell dance team aims for state title

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Experienced Sartell dance team aims for state title

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SARTELL

Like most of her teammates, Ashley Bartlett has been dancing a long time.

“Since I was 2,” the Sartell High School senior said.

The culmination of that endeavor takes place Friday and Saturday at the Target Center in Minneapolis. That’s when Bartlett and her fellow Sartell dance team members attempt to capture a state championship.

“I’m real excited for this weekend,” Bartlett said.

Sartell is one of four area programs competing in the state meet, which begins with Class A jazz competition at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Area Class 2A jazz teams Sartell, St. Cloud Cathedral and Rocori, and St. Cloud Technical High School, the area’s lone 3A jazz entrant, compete Friday afternoon. The finals start at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The meet continues with the high kick competition starting with Class A at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and everyone else at about 2 p.m.

Finals are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“Central Minnesota actually has a lot of really good dance teams,” said Kelly McCarney, the only dance team coach in Sartell history, having helped start the program in 2003. “Us and Cathedral have had a lot of success at the state level.”

Sartell won a state high kick title in 2011. Cathedral took high kick championships in 2009 and 2010.

The Sabres have had a leg up on the Crusaders this season, finishing ahead at the section meet.

Sartell took second to Chaska in high kick last year. The Sabres have seen them during the season, competing in Chaska’s invitational. It’s clearly a motivator.

What should you know about Sartell? “That we’re going to bring it at state and leave in on the floor,” senior Natalie McIntire said.

“It’s the best,” senior Ashley Regnier said.

Good students in Sartell

The team, 34 members strong, has been working since November to reach state. McCarney said it’s an academically successful team, with a 3.6 grade-point average and four members on the all-state academic team including Bartlett, McIntire, Hannah Tilstra and Laura Ondrisova. Those four have GPAs of 3.85 or better.

Ondrisova is an exchange student from Bratislava, Slovakia. Before enrolling at Sartell, she had never heard of dance team.

A national champion rhythmic gymnast back home, when she heard that sport wasn’t offered at Sartell, she thought she’d try cheerleading.

One problem: There is no cheerleading at Sartell, either.

That’s when she was encouraged to give dance team a try.

“It was much better than cheerleading,” Ondrisova said. “I love it. You have so many girls doing so many things at the same time. It is totally different than what I have done before.”

She’ll be an alternate this weekend. She’s hoping to watch her new team do well.

“I feel like it’s a bigger deal than anything in Slovakia,” she said. “I would recommend it to everyone. It is amazing.”

Competition schedule

Sartell competes fourth at about 2:30 p.m. Friday in its leg of the competition.

Rocori goes seventh at about 3:40 p.m., and Cathedral competes in the 11th spot of 12 teams at about 3 p.m.

Tech has the sixth position in Class 3A and goes at about 2:50 p.m. Friday.

In high kick Saturday, Cathedral competes third at about 2:20 p.m., followed by Rocori, which goes fourth at 2:30 p.m. Sartell is 10th and is expected to take the floor at 3:30 p.m.

Tech goes 11th in 3A at about 3:45 p.m.

To reach the evening finals, a team must finish in the top six in the afternoon session.

“The main thing for us is we’ve had a lot of sucess at state in the past,” McCarney said.

“Now, our goal at state is to improve our scores even more.”

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