Dance: Cannon Falls captures sixth Class 1A High Kick titleMINNEAPOLIS - Losing was the best thing to happen to Cannon Falls. The Bombers high kick dance team finished runner-up to Lake City at the Section 1A tournament last weekend but they would not be denied Saturday at the Class 1A state dance tournament High Kick Division.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
MINNEAPOLIS - Losing was the best thing to happen to Cannon Falls.
The Bombers high kick dance team finished runner-up to Lake City at the Section 1A tournament last weekend but they would not be denied Saturday at the Class 1A state dance tournament High Kick Division.
Cannon Falls took home the Class 1A title for the sixth time in the last 10 years, winning by three points and one rank point at the Target Center.
“Something clicked inside my girls’ heads and they realized that they couldn’t take anything for granted by getting second,” Bombers’ head coach Madi Salisbury said. “I’m glad it woke my kids up because it could have gone one of two ways.
“All the missed sleep, breaking out in hives because of the stress is definitely worth it. It’s the exact reason we’re standing here.”
Aitkin placed second, Yellow-Medicine East was third and Lake City took fourth place. Zumbrota-Mazeppa placed ninth.
This was the 10th consecutive year that Aitkin finished first or second in Class 1A.
Salisbury spoke with Lake City’s head coach, Heather Sell, about the flipped roles the two teams experienced after the section tournament and the added expectations for the Tigers.
“She said, ‘I’m just kind of stressed. The kids just didn’t dance like they did (last week). They felt a lot of pressure.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, it sucks doesn’t it?’” Salisbury said. “‘You don’t realize it until you’re there.’ Once you get to the top, there’s an expectation to maintain it and it’s really difficult to do and I felt bad because I thought them winning was maybe the reason they didn’t place today and us losing was the reason we won.”
Cannon Falls was ready for the preliminary round as well, tallying the highest score and dancing last out of six teams in the finals. Despite the great performance in the prelims, the Bombers didn’t know how well they had done, Salisbury wanted to keep that a secret.
“We told the girls as they were getting ready for finals that we were tied for second with YME and we weren’t,” Salisbury said. “Right when we were in the chute getting ready to go on the floor, we said, ‘You know what girls? I’m sorry I lied to you,' and they just went stark white. I said, ‘You weren’t tied for first with YME, you’re in first by three points.’ That somber face turned from tears to joy.”
Senior Brekkan Winchell and junior Kelsie Beissel were named to the Class 1A High Kick All-Tournament Team from Cannon Falls.
The Bombers’ final score Saturday was their highest of the season and even scored a 10 from one judge in the criterion of visual effectiveness and creativity. Cannon Falls calls that a “moose.”
“We rack it up,” Salisbury said motioning her hands like antlers. “We haven’t gotten one all season so no better place than at state.”
The difficulty and creativity of the Bombers’ routine was evident despite a mistake during the finals when one of the dancers went to the wrong line. The final product was still the best in the state.
“We have a very difficult and very visual dance,” Salisbury said. “We do a lot of formations and transitions and the more you do, the more you’re using the floor. When I did the formations for this routine, I did it for the Target Center floor. It hasn’t really gotten justice until today.
“The difference is that up until last week, we were letting the … choreography push us across the floor. This week, we started showing the dance who’s boss.”
In 2004, when Salisbury was competing for her high school dance team, her team won state despite a similar mistake.
“Those flukes, they just happen but three points, that’s a win,” Salisbury said.
She said that Cannon Falls was the first team to ever win a championship in the Target Center for dance team. With the Bombers most likely moving up to Class 2A next year, they went out on top.
“Cannon Falls was the first team to ever win a championship in this stadium for dance team and this is looking like it’ll be our last year in this class so let’s go out with a bang,” Salisbury said. “They rocked it.”