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Top sports stories 2009, No. 8: Area dance teams excel

Cannon Falls dancers celebrate winning the 2009 Class A state title Friday evening in the high kick/precision division at the Target Center in Minneapolis.1 / 2
The Cannon Falls dance team performs in the high kick division at the Class A state tournament Feb. 13. - Republican Eagle file photo2 / 2

The Cannon Falls dance team tried something new and wound up with the same result -- a Class A state dance team title in the high kick/precision division.

Cannon Falls added a second routine in 2009. The team opened the year performing a fun, simple routine.

As an added benefit, it also was a strenuous cardio routine.

In January, the team switched to a more technically precise routine that it had been working on all along.

"It had exactly what we wanted to show at sections and state," Cannon Falls coach Carrie Williams said of the second dance.

The result was an undefeated season and Cannon Falls' fourth state title in five years. The Bomber Dance Team also placed first from 2005 to 2007.

Seniors Natalie Beavers and Kalyn Schroeder were named to the all-tournament team Feb. 13 at the Target Center.

Cannon Falls returned to the Timberwolves' home arena the following day and placed third in jazz/funk competition. It was the first time in program history that Cannon Falls advanced to the finals in the jazz division.

We "just had no idea we were going to go that far," Williams said.

Kelly Kusilek, a senior, and Rachel Brage, a junior, were named to the all-tournament team.

Lake City finished fifth in the Class A high kick division -- it's best finish in school history. Ashley Eichelberger and Kia Klein were selected to the all-tournament dance team.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa, which was making its third consecutive state tournament appearance, placed sixth in the Class A jazz division. Z-M seniors Blaire Hoven and Mindy Darcy were members of the all-tournament team.