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Dance Team: Brainerd takes 2

The Brained Warriors celebrate the program's first-ever Section 4-3A jazz championship Saturday, Feb. 2 at Forest Lake. Submitted photo

FOREST LAKE—Brainerd was feeling doubly special in the Section 4-3A meet Saturday, Feb. 2.

For the first time in program history, the Brainerd Warriors won a section title in jazz and doubled their fun by winning kick to advance to the Class 3A state tournament in both.

Brainerd scored 614 points in kick with 4 rank points. Anoka, which Warriors head coach Cindy Clough figured would be the closest competition, placed second with 597 points and seven rank points. Sauk Rapids placed third.

"The routine was one of our best ever," Clough said. "I feel the four color blocking, the choreography, was one of our most well thought out and put together routines. The athletes really bought into it and sold it to the crowd and judges. The routine is pretty non-stop and their fitness level carried it through We had a fall and a few slight bobbles, but our scores were high enough in other areas to compensate.

"I had wanted to do Aladdin since I went to the musical. Coaches were worried about stamina with days of no practice due to the cold temperatures, but the team rehearsed at home to keep their fitness level up."

Brainerd scored 601 points in jazz to go with four rank points. Anoka, again, was in second with 571 points and eight rank points, while St. Cloud Tech was third.

"It has been a goal for years and years for Brainerd to win the section in jazz," said Clough. "This year they not only won it, but they had first across the board by seven of judges. When we were standing in the line, they announced third, then second and inside you start to have doubt creep in. There isn't a scoreboard so you don't really know where you are at. You either win or you're not going to state.

"In 2015 we thought we were winning the section. We had everyone (other coaches, past judges etc.) telling us it was our day to win the section. We really felt we were going to win. We ended up not making it that year and it is hard to shake that feeling. Standing in that line, waiting while all of Anoka got their 2nd-place medals, seems like forever. This year had a way better outcome. It was a much better feeling."

Brainerd has two weeks to prepare for the state tournament. There will be a final local performance Friday, Feb. 8 at Central Lakes College. More information will be provided.

Team scores:

Jazz: 1-Brainerd 601, 4 rank points. 2-Anoka 571, 8, 3-St. Cloud Tech 548, 12.5

Brainerd scores:

Jazz skills: technique of turns 56, technique of leaps and jumps 57

Choreography: creativity 65, visual effectiveness 63

Difficulty: routine choreography 62 formations and transitions 57, skills 59

Execution: placement and control 59 degree of accuracy 57

Routine Effectiveness: 66

Kick: 1-Brainerd 614 points, 4 rank points, 2-Anoka 597, 7, 3-Sauk Rapids 544, 14

Brainerd scores:

Kicks: technique 59, height 62

Choreography: creativity 65, visual effectiveness 66

Difficulty: routine choreography 62, formations/transitions 62, difficulty of kicks 63

Execution: placement/control 55, degree of accuracy 56

Routine Effectiveness 64

Next: Brainerd in Class 3A state tournament at Target Center, Minneapolis Feb. 15-16