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Dance Team: Talent level is high in the Warrior dance room

The Brainerd Warriors dance team kicks off its season Friday, Nov. 19, in Pequot Lakes

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Brainerd Warrior Dance Team practices their routine Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in the Brainerd High School gymnasium. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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While graduation may have hit the Brainerd Warriors dance team hard, the talent returning should help ease in the varsity rookies.

That talent includes four All-State athletes after Brainerd secured a seventh-place showing in jazz and a third-place finish in kick at the 2021 Class 3A State dance competition.

Senior Thea Shogren and junior Semme Hiltner were All-State kick selections and Quinn Geraets and India Hiltner were All-State jazz selections from those teams. Those four were also All-Central Lakes Conference selections along with Jada Bentson and Madison Avery. Greta Schoemer was an All-Conference Honorable Mention selection in both jazz and kick.

Geraets and India Hiltner were named the team’s Most Valuable Athletes last season.

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Every one of those girls is back and also comprised the choreography team that helped come up with this year’s themes.

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For kick, the routine is called “Bathing Beauties” and will be a mix of musical theater and techno. There are currently 28 dancers on the varsity with two swings should an athlete miss a competition.

Warrior head coach Cindy Clough, entering her 45th season as the head coach said the routine is a mix of beach music with costume reveals near the end.

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Cindy Clough

“We start out in all white swimsuits and later reveal three different patterned colors of 40’s style swimsuits Polka dots, stripe, and checks,” she added. “It has been challenging all the way around. From figuring out who is where in terms of the colors and sizes of costumes.

“The reveal itself is challenging. The costumes have 14 snaps that need to pop at the same time to make them look flawless. Our first competition on Friday and then again on Saturday will be our test. I made a comment that the routine seemed easier than usual this year and I was met with some indignant and confused looks. I think we just started the season in better shape due to off-season training so they make it look easier, but it is definitely up there in difficulty."

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Brainerd’s jazz routine is called “Stupid” and is a contemporary piece which is something Warrior dance has not done in a long time Clough said.

“The team loves it and they are really responding to the challenge,” Clough said. “We started out with a different song and ditched it and all the choreography due to it being impossible to count. We lost some valuable time with that switch-up and are playing catch-up.

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“Our athletes can move beautifully. We feel their school musicality is impressive which we are excited about. We are dancing a larger number of team members this year which is exciting.”

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One thing Clough worried about most of last year was the smaller number of dancers in the team’s routines and creating a larger team was a focus during the offseason.

Something Clough and the rest of the Warriors will have to think about this season is the new section realignment, which will introduce new teams into Section 4, which Brainerd has swept the last three years.

“It ended up being a big shake-up,” Clough said. “Duluth, Sauk Rapids, Blaine and Forest Lake moved out. Sartell, Saint Cloud Area (Tech and Apollo combined) and Maple Grove moved into Section 4-3A which is a tough trade-off. All are high-level teams making the section much more difficult.

“Sartell is hard to get by. We ended up tying them in points at State (they were in 2A and Brainerd was 3A). Sartell was Class 2A kick and jazz Champions. Maple Grove was second in the state in Jazz.”

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One thing Brainerd won’t have to worry about is transportation. Despite a lack of drivers in for the district, the Warriors will have their very own.

“This year should be back to normal for the most part,” Clough said. “We will be making trips to many of our usual competitions. Chad Crenna, an alumni dad, and uncle of one of the current dancers agreed to train to be a driver for Reichert’s. The team is thrilled about that. With the shortage of drivers, it is great to have someone specifically designated as a driver for the Warrior dance team."

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India Hiltner (left), Quinn Geraets and Jada Bentson were named Brainerd Warriors' dance team captains. Submitted photo

The first of two Central Lakes Conference meets is scheduled for Dec. 3 at St. Cloud Tech. The second meet will be Jan. 14 at Sauk Rapids.


I made a comment that the routine seemed easier than usual this year and I was met with some indignant and confused looks. I think we just started the season in better shape due to off-season training so they make it look easier, but it is definitely up there in difficulty."

— Cindy Clough


Brainerd’s junior varsity team will compete with a kick routine to a circus theme. Clough said the difficulty is high, which will be a challenge for the junior varsity to improve. The junior varsity jazz team will perform “So Cold” which is a former varsity routine.

“They are responding greatly to it,” Clough said. “Our junior varsity jazz team is bigger than typical years.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

Warrior varsity roster
Seniors: Jada Bentson, Macin Freed, Quinn Geraets, India Hiltner, Saydie Olson, Greta Schloemer, Thea Shogren, Abigail Thom
Juniors: Madison Avery, Bailey Clausen, Avrie George, Semme Hiltner, Kylie Skaaland
Sophomores: Izabella Barber, Aubrey Carey, Sydney Hamre, Cassidy Rardin, Madison Raskin, Racine Schommer, Alexis Strus, Ana Wickham
Freshmen: Caitlin Clark, Payton Miller, Ivy Debeltz, Grace Cowell
Eighth-graders: Skylar Alyward, Eva Clough, Avery Horn, Avery Peterson
Seventh-graders: Camryn Anderson, Beatrice Hartwig

Warrior junior varsity roster
Seniors: Madison Lee, Natalie Mayoral, Allie Roemer
Junior: Chloe Marohn
Freshmen: Morgan Carey, Zoe Cervantez, Hayden Freed, Stella Marohn, Alivia McKay
Eighth-graders: Ada Devries, Gracee, Johnston, Louie Korhonen, Gabbi Kubesh, Alexa Medeck, Claire Reilley, Izzy Sedlachek
Seventh-graders: Kennedy Christianson

Warrior schedule
Friday, Nov. 14, Pequot Lakes Competition
Saturday, Nov. 20, Sartell Judged Show
Dec 3, Central Lakes Conference meet at St. Cloud Tech
Dec. 4, Chanhassen Invite
Dec. 11, The Stroia Nutcracker
Dec. 18, Guest performers on the Just For Kix Holiday Show “Kickin’ It With My Gnomies”
Jan. 7, Guest performers in the U of M’s Best of the Best
Jan. 8, at Edina Invitational
Jan. 14, Central Lakes Conference meet at Sauk Rapids
Jan. 22, at Wayzata Invite
Feb. 4-5 Section meet at St. Michael-Albertville
Feb. 18-19 State Dance meet at Target Center

Brainerd Warriors
Head coach: Cindy Clough, (45th season)
Assistant coaches: Julie Davidge (15th year), Ali Clough-Geraets (15th year), Terri Ebinger (6th year as junior varsity coach, former 6-year varsity), Avery Davidge first-year junior varsity
2020-21 Section 4-3A finish: 1st place in kick, 1st place in jazz
2020-21 State Class 3A finishes: 3rd in kick, 7th in jazz
Varsity captains: Jada Bentson, Quinn Geraets and India Hiltner
Manager: Grace Cowell

Junior varsity captains: Chloe Marohn, Madison Lee and Allie Roemer

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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