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Dancers kick their way to fifth

Senior Alexandria dance team members (from left to right) Samantha Winther, Alexis Kokett and Emily Haan go through their routine during the jazz competition at the 18th annual Alexandria Invite on Saturday morning. The Cardinals took eigth in jazz and fifth in the kick in a field of 11 Class AA and AAA teams. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)2 / 3
Alexandria kick team members (from left to right) Paige Revering, Emily Haan, Brooke Rinicker, Chelsea Drown, Kenzie Stark and Samantha Winther lock arms as they kick in unison during their routine at the Alexandria Invite on Saturday morning. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)3 / 3

The scare of winter weather kept some of the teams from traveling to Alexandria for the 18th annual dance invite on Saturday, but it didn’t keep the Cardinals from enjoying an opportunity to perform in front of their home fans. 

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Alexandria danced its way to a fifth-place finish in the kick competition after taking eighth out of 11 teams in the jazz. A total of 14 teams were scheduled to take part in the morning session of the Class AA and AAA competition. It was a much better turnout than in the afternoon when just three teams made it out of 18 that were scheduled to perform during the Class A event.

“We actually had a decent attendance for AA with 11 out of the 14 in the morning,” Alexandria head coach Christine Reilly said. “Fan wise, it was a small crowd. I think a lot of spectators or parents just decided not to travel, but it was still a decent attendance and it was a good competition…Of the three [Class A teams] that came, they were great about it and they were there to compete. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the way it is.”

The Cardinals used the event to compete against some of the tops teams in their section field. Rocori and St. Cloud Cathedral are both a part of that group and performed well with Cathedral taking first in both the jazz and the kick and Rocori taking second in both events. Sartell is perhaps the section front runner but was not at the event.

“With how things have gone so far, Sartell is a step ahead,” Reilly said of a tough section field. “Cathedral and Rocori, those two are really tight, and if we can break into that bracket, that would be great. That’s our goal.”

Reilly said the Cardinals are simply further along right now in their kick routine than they are in jazz. Alexandria got things going early on Saturday morning by scoring 250 points in the jazz division out of a possible 500. That left them in eighth place.

“They’re doing really well in practice,” Reilly said. “We just haven’t hit it yet. I thought Saturday would be our day, but we’re just struggling with everyone getting it together. We’re just not consistent…I know we have the strongest jazz team we have ever had. I just feel like we have yet to show it in a competition.”

Things are starting to come together for this team in the kick competition. The Cardinals were bunched closely together with St. Cloud Apollo as they came just three points short of overtaking the Eagles for fourth place on Saturday. Alexandria scored a total of 325 points after coming out with a lot of energy to wrap up their day.

“Kick was really strong, energy was high,” Reilly said. “I’m really glad that we were in the top five. They’re a very determined group of girls and they’re just going to keep competing.”

The Cardinals can use this meet to give themselves a good idea of where they are at in terms of the rest of the section field. Cold and icy conditions might have kept some teams away, but the teams that were there for the AA and AAA competition provided a solid challenge for those in attendance.

“We feel really good about who we did get because it’s a huge showing from our section,” Reilly said. “It’s some top teams from our section that we’re up against. We look forward to [this meet] and visiting teams that come in both classes know that it’s a tough competition, and it’s good to see all those teams.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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