SAUK RAPIDS — Brainerd head coach Cindy Clough described it best when talking about the final standings following the Central Lakes Conference Championship Saturday, Feb. 20.
“So close, but yet, so far away,” said Clough following Brainerd’s second-place finish in both kick and jazz.
Clough was specifically referring to the kick competition that came down to one point. Sartell scored 436 points with four rank points. Brainerd scored 435 with five rank points.
“Sartell had a rank point of four and Brainerd a rank point of five,” Clough said. “Two judges had Brainerd in first and three judges had Sartell in first. In total points, Brainerd was a mere 1 point from Sartell. When I told the athletes following the meet on zoom you could see it just crushed them. It is a bit harder to take when it is that close because they start thinking about what they personally could have done. As coaches, we are thrilled we were that close. Sartell is a very strong team so it gives us great confidence going into sections next Friday.”
It was the same one-two finish in jazz as well. This time Sartell scored 48 total points with three rank points. Brainerd secured 419 points and six rank points.
"Sartell was the clear winner in jazz,” Clough said. “Our team had our best performance of the year thus far but coaches felt Sartell is the best they have ever been in Jazz in the history of their program. They danced six more than us and the volume looks stronger. We really appreciated their choreography.
“Our jazz dancers did amazing and our goal moving forward will be to have a deeper group of team members who can execute the challenging skill level that is required.”
Earning all-conference honors from Brainerd were Quinn Geraets, India Hiltner, Semme Hiltner in kick and India Hiltner, Geraets, Semme Hiltner, Thea Shogren and Jada Bentson in jazz.
Bentson and Greta Schoemer were honorable mention selections in kick. Maddy Avery and Schloemer were honorable mention selections in jazz.
It was also the final competition for Brainerd’s junior varsity team.
Brainerd finished second in junior varsity kick behind Sartell. Brainerd posted 303 points and six rank points. Sartell scored 309 with a five-point deduction because of a fall to drop them to 304. Sartell finished with three rank points.
"I'm very proud of how hard they worked every day at practice, even the zoom ones,” Brainerd junior varsity coach Teri Ebinger said. “They did a fabulous job this season and should be proud of themselves."
In jazz, Sartell won with 331 points and three rank points. Brainerd placed second with 306 points and six rank points.
"Camaraderie on both teams has been a high point this season,” Brainerd junior varsity coach Julie Davidge said. “You can really tell the team appreciated being together way more than usual. That is a positive to come out of all this COVID."
The Section 4-3A meet will be split into four different heats and will be held Friday, Feb. 26 at Forest Lake High School. The first heat will begin at 9 a.m. The second heat, which Brainerd is a part of, will be 10:50 a.m. The third heat will begin at 12:40 p.m. and the final heat will be 2:15 p.m.
Because of COVID restrictions two of the four dance sections are seeding teams. Section 4 is not.
"In the case of Brainerd, we are going in as most likely as the top or second-highest scoring team in our section,” Clough said. “That would mean we would dance last or second to last which would be ideal.”
The event will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMpTVMdRYZtz748ydkaO42w. Brainerd’s kick squad will perform at 11:05 p.m. and the jazz team at 11:45 p.m.
Jazz: 1-Sartell 448, 3 rank points, 2-Brainerd 419, 6 rank points, 3-Sauk Rapids 376, 10 rank points, 4-Rocori 375, 11 rank points, 5-St. Cloud 313, 15 rank points, 6-Bemidji 282, 20 rank points, 7-Willmar 275, 20 rank points, 8-Alexandria 264, 24 rank points
Kick: 1-Sartell 436, 4 rank points; 2-Brainerd 435, 5 rank points, 3-Rocori 370, 10 rank points, 4-Sauk Rapids 366, 11 rank points, 5-St. Cloud 304, 17 rank points, 6-Alexandria 302, 18 rank points, 7-Willmar 295, 19 rank points, 8-Bemidji 259, 24 rank points
Next: Brainerd in Section 4-4A meet at Forest Lake High School 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26.