Dance Team: Warriors open season Saturday at Sartell

Nearly 50 girls have been practicing since Oct. 24 in preparation for the Brainerd Warrior dance team's season opener Saturday at the Sartell Invite Show.

Nearly 50 girls have been practicing since Oct. 24 in preparation for the Brainerd Warrior dance team's season opener Saturday at the Sartell Invite Show.

Cindy Clough, beginning her 40th season as head coach of the Brainerd Warriors, said the invite will be a judged show.

"It's their fundraising show, but it will give us a read on our scores," Clough said. "We have a lot of members who also perform in the 'Nutcracker' that day so it pulls us in a few directions."

This season the varsity will be competing a robot-themed kick routine and a lyrical jazz routine to a mix of "Taps" and the "Battle Hymn of The Republic."

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Brainerd Warriors

  • Head coach: Cindy Clough, 40th season
  • Assistant coaches: Ali Clough, Julie Davidge, Christina Sanow (all 10th year of coaching Brainerd), Terri Ebinger (JV), Brianna Niemeyer (JV, second season).
  • 2015-16 Section 4-3A finish: First in kick, fifth in jazz
  • 2015-16 Class 3A state finish: Eighth in high kick
  • Captains: MaKayla Clough & Avery Davidge (head captains); Chloe Hollen & Ari Rodahl (assistant captains)

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"We feel like we are pushing hard right out of the gate," Clough said. "There is so much pressure during the early portion of the season. Minnesota State High School League rules do not allow choreography out of the season prior to two weeks out. Getting four routines ready to compete is quite the task. We also do our annual holiday show with a different routine so that adds to the pressure."

The Warriors will be featured guest performers in the Just For Kix Holiday Shows at 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m. Nov. 26. The performances will allow Brainerd to sharpen its routines for its Central Lakes Conference opener Nov. 29 at Alexandria.

"We love it when we get to perform three times right before a big meet," Clough said. "CLC scores are cumulative over the season so we need to be strong so we don't back ourselves into a corner."

Brainerd will host an invite at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3. Clough said the Warriors are trying to run the invite with parent volunteers, Warrior dance alumni and alumni parents. Alumni willing to help should contact Warrior coaches via the Kixter's Facebook page.

"We are excited at the top-level teams we have drawn to Brainerd," Clough said. "We had let the meet die for a while and decided to bring it back when Chaska asked if we would go every other year running a meet the first Saturday of December.

"We didn't think that many teams would travel, but they are, and we attracted a who's-who of dance teams in the state."


In addition to Brainerd, teams competing include Aitkin, Pierz, Chaska, Eastview, Spring Lake Park, Wayzata, Champlin Park, Chanhassen, Lakeville South, Centennial, Elk River, Prior Lake, Irondale and Bemidji. Brainerd will compete in varsity jazz, varsity kick, JV jazz and JV kick. All teams are Class 3A except for 1A Pierz and 1A Aitkin.

MaKayla Clough and Avery Davidge are the Warriors' head captains this season.

"We are excited about our season," Cindy Clough said. "The team has been working so hard. Seniors have really been raising the bar with their leadership. MaKayla Clough and Avery Davidge, as lead captains, have been doing exceptional."

Having 48 dancers on the roster will enable Brainerd to field a junior varsity team. The JV team will perform a skeleton-themed kick routine this season as well as a jazz routine to "I'll Be Watching You."

Returning as varsity coaches this season are Ali Clough, Julie Davidge and Christina Sanow, all in their 10th year coaching the Warriors.

Terri Ebinger returns as a JV coach for the first time since the 2000 season. Brianna Niemeyer will be back for her second season as a JV coach.


Warriors roster


Seniors: Victoria Blood, Justice Bowers, Alayna Burmeister, MaKayla Clough (Head Captain), Avery Davidge (Head Captain), Sharaia Goble, Chloe Hollen(Assistant Captain) Gracie Ostrowski, Emily Patnode, Ari Rodahl (Assistant Captain), Jordan Rudolph, Hannah Rybak,

Juniors: Davonn Epps, Gemma Hollen, Kalie Jeremiason, Olivia Sedlachek, Marcy Stout, Taylor Zimmer.

Sophomores: Maycie Berg, Kaysie Carlson, Chase Christian, Lauren Crenna, Courtney Eschenbacher, Taylor Madsen, Olivia Ruhl, Samantha Steichen, Katherine Sundquist, Daniesha Thoemke. Mackenzie Grams (Manager)

Freshmen: Grace Balsley, Makayla Bender, Macy Clough, Mariah Erickson, Madison Leas, Hannah Paysse, Avery Rozinka, Harlie Spieker, Felicity Thorpe.

Eighth-graders: Aftyn Arnold, Bailey Koop, Lindsie McKusick, Aubri Metz, Michaela Steichen, Lily Jones.

Seventh-graders: Jada Bentson, Quinn Geraets, India Hiltner, Greta Schloemer, Thea Shogren.


Warriors schedule

Nov 19: at Sartell Invite Show (varsity & JV)

Nov 26: Holiday show at Brainerd (varsity & JV)

Nov 29: CLC at Alexandria (varsity)

Dec 3: Brainerd Invite (varsity and JV)

Dec 16: CLC at St. Cloud Apollo (varsity)

Jan 6: at Best Of The Best at University of MN (Varsity)

Jan 7: at Lakeville Invite (varsity & JV)

Jan 13: CLC at Willmar (varsity)

Jan 14: JV at Anoka

Jan 21: at Wayzata Invite (varsity & JV)

Feb 4: Sections State Qualifier 4-3A at Forest Lake (varsity)

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