FL jazz team earns first state trip

Above: The Forest Lake jazz team spins in unison at the section competition Saturday. Middle:  The jazz and kick team pose for a group picture following the meet. Below: The Ranger jazz team reacts to the news of taking second place at section and earning their first-ever state appearance. (Photo essay by TLC Digital Images)

Above: The Forest Lake jazz team spins in unison at the section competition Saturday. Middle: The jazz and kick team pose for a group picture following the meet. Below: The Ranger jazz team reacts to the news of taking second place at section and earning their first-ever state appearance. (Photo essay by TLC Digital Images)

Ranger kick team ends season with high score

 

Kat Ladwig
Sports Editor

Following a season-high scoring performance by the Forest Lake kick team at the Section 3AAA competition on Saturday, the Ranger jazz team defeated rival Spring Lake Park to qualify for its first-ever state appearance.

Head coach Cheryl Smoczyk said her squad’s electrifying performance earned a perfect 10, another first for Forest Lake dance.

“I’m so excited I can hardly believe it,” Smoczyk said. “It’s such a happy moment for our whole team since it’s been such a rough season with a lot of injuries. I’m really delighted.”

The Rangers tied for first with Eagan, but were awarded second based on two tie-breaker methods despite the Rangers beating the Wildcats in total points, 589-583.

Smoczyk said she knew the girls had a chance while watching the usual first-place contenders, Spring Lake Park, bobble a bit via the television monitor in their assigned classroom. As the second-to-last jazz team to perform, the head coach called it a performance of a lifetime including the perfect score for routine effectiveness and near-perfect unison.

Contributing to the state-qualifying dance was the return of Ali Clasen and Aly Proulx, who fought through injuries to perform with the rest of the Ranger jazz squad.

The kick team closed its season on a high with its highest scores of the season by earning just five average ratings and a majority of seven and eights (above average) to earn seventh of 15 schools.

“They delivered and did just what we wanted them to do,” Smoczyk said. “They performed well. We need to work a little more on technique since we are not quite there yet, but I’m so proud of them too.”

Taking first was Henry Sibley followed by Eagan and Spring Lake Park.

The state dance tournament begins at 11:30 a.m. on Friday at the Target Center in Minneapolis with Classes A, AA and AAA competition set to begin at 2 p.m.

The top-three teams in each section advance, so the Rangers will be dancing against 11 other schools for the state title. Class AAA finalists will be announced at 4:45 p.m. and the top-six squads will perform again at 7:15 p.m. on Friday evening.

“It’s just an honor to be going, especially as first-timers,” Smoczyk said.

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