Dance: Gibbons grateful for all her athletes gave after season ends at sections

Head coach Kassandra Gibbons lauds the leadership of her four seniors during a challenging season during the pandemic.

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The Alexandria dance team performs at the Section 4-2A meet in Sartell on Feb. 27 where the Cardinals finished eighth in both the jazz and kick competitions. (Contributed photo)

The Alexandria dance team wrapped up what has been a strange season for many dancers across the state in the Minnesota State High School League by taking eighth in both jazz and kick at the Section 4-2A tournament in Sartell on Feb. 27.

The top three teams advance to the state meet on March 12. Sartell won both the jazz and kick, while Rocori was second in jazz and third in kick and St. Cloud Cathedral was second in kick and third in jazz to solidify spots at state.

Alexandria head coach Kassandra Gibbons felt the Cardinals had their cleanest routines of the season in what is an always-competitive section field. Coaches and athletes were happy with how things ended in a year that was interrupted by the COVID-19-caused pause in sports after starting practice in the late fall.

“I think the girls were able to learn a lot about grit and perseverance this season,” Gibbons said. “They had to power through a lot of really challenging things -- training at home, learning dances and having them ready to compete in mere weeks, performing with a mask on.”

Gibbons was happy her athletes got an opportunity to compete, referencing last year’s spring athletes not getting that chance during the pandemic.


“Every time something frustrating or difficult would come up due to COVID, we would just remind ourselves, ‘At least we still get to have a season,’ Gibbons said. “Our girls were such troopers this season, and I am so proud of all they accomplished.”

This was a relatively young group for Alexandria, with 13 freshmen and sophomores between the varsity and junior varsity teams.

Aleah Dokter, Heidi Carstensen and Greta Zenner are juniors who will likely be looked upon as returning leaders next winter, while seniors Anna Dokter, Kaelynn Okerlund and co-captains Maddie Holtz and Caris Pass served in that leadership role this season.

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The Alexandria dance team performs at the Section 4-2A tournament in Sartell on Feb. 27. (Contributed photos)

“I could not have gotten through this season without the leadership and support from these girls,” Gibbons said of her seniors. “This is 100% true. These girls did so much above and beyond what we ask of a typical senior or captain.

“Many times, they were the ones coming up with the ideas and solutions. We as coaches didn't even have to delegate, because they were already taking care of it. These girls were able to keep our team’s spirits up all season, challenge the girls to work hard, and lead by example. These seniors will truly be missed. I am forever grateful to have had this season and this experience with this senior class.”



Jazz: 1. Sartell, 2. ROCORI, 3. Cathedral, 4. Becker, 5. Monticello, 6. Detroit Lakes, 7, Bemidji, 8. Alexandria, 9. Albany, 10. Pequot Lakes, 11. Foley, 12. Melrose

Kick: 1. Sartell 2. Cathedral 3. ROCORI, 4. Becker 5. Albany, 6. Foley, 7. Monticello, 8. Alexandria, 9. Bemidji, 10. Melrose, 11. Pequot Lakes, 12. Little Falls, 13. Detroit Lakes

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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