High kick/precision has been the Sartell Sabres’ dance team forte.
They’re good at it and have a decent chance at a state Class 2A title in it Saturday.
Jazz/funk has been another matter, at least until Friday. That’s when Sartell earned its first third-place finish in jazz in school history.
“I’m in shock,” Sartell senior captain Hannah Carey said.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s won Class 2A jazz and Totino-Grace was second. Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud Cathedral both competed Friday, but did not qualify for the evening finals.
Conversely, St. Cloud Tech coach Sue Arnold says her squad is equally talented in jazz and high kick. The Tigerettes wound up fifth in jazz Friday after not qualifying for state in that category in 2013.
“This was the best Tech has ever done,” Arnold said. “They were really amazing. I’m so proud of them.
“That talent level in triple-A is incredible. Everybody’s good. For being the only triple-A school in our little community and competing with the teams here is amazing.”
Eastview of Apple Valley took first. Wayzata was second, Maple Grove was third and Chaska was fourth. All of them are Twin Cities suburban powers.
The Tigerettes expected to be improved in jazz, senior Sara Robbins agreed.
“We put a lot more time into our routine this year,” she said. “We have a lot more people on the team.”
Tech was 16 strong in jazz and will have 30 performers for high kick, making it one of the teams with the most competitors. The Tigers took a unique approach to their jazz routine, using a subdued accompaniment, “Listen,” for its music.
“Listen” begins as a spoken-word piece. Arnold said it best reflects what the program is trying to instill in its participants, that they all can make a difference.
Sartell, meanwhile, took second in the state in high kick the past two seasons and won it all in 2011. The Sabres are super pumped about Saturday simply because Friday went so well.
“I’m going to have a smile on my face for I don’t know how long,” Sartell senior Avalon Schlecht said.
“Finally, all the hard work is showing up here,” Sartell senior Sarah Erickson said.
Like Tech, Sartell tried a different approach to jazz. Erickson helped find the music, “You’ll find a way.” It’s as up-beat as any used in Class 2A Friday night.
“We went in a different direction this year,” Sartell head coach Kelly McCarney said. “We wanted to challenge ourselves and step outside our comfort zone. …
“Sometimes, being different is good.”
It worked Friday for the Sabres, as well as it did for Tech.
Both will try to improve upon their jazz performances Saturday.
* The high kick/precision portion of the meet takes place beginning with Class A at 11 a.m. Saturday. Class 2A and 3A compete beginning at 2 p.m. The finals in Class A are at 5:30 p.m., with the Class 2A and 3A finals starting at 7:15 p.m.
* There are 12 teams in each class. The top six in each class advance to the finals.
* St. Cloud Tech senior Tiana Neu was named to the academic all-state dance team. Neu has a 3.85 grade-point average, Arnold said. Tech earned academic all-state team honors as well, with a 3.29 GPA.
* Sartell’s Sarah Erickson and Avalon Schlecht made the Class 2A all-tournament team.
* Tech’s Sara Robbins and Hannah Morin made the Class 3A all-tournament team.
“It was really difficult deciding who was getting it (all-tournament),” Arnold said. “All our seniors are worthy, great leaders.”
Class A – 1. Yellow Medicine East 9.5; 2. Duluth Marshall 10; 3. Aitkin 14.5.
Class 2A – 1. Benilde-St. Margaret’s 5, 2. Totino-Grace 7; 3. Sartell 15.5.
Class 3A – 1. Eastview (Apple Valley) 7; 2. Wayzata 8; 3. Maple Grove 13; 4. Chaska 20; 5. St. Cloud Tech 24; 6. Brainerd 30.