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2014 shaping up to be 'dream season' for Lady Lynx dance team
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

August 26. 2014 11:56AM
Brandon Valley’s 2014 competitive dance season is setting up to be an emotional one.

With eight strong senior dancers on the 17-member squad – including coach Tracy Kuhn’s own daughter, senior Alissa with co-captain senior Maci Smykle – Kuhn says, “This is a long time coming. It’s exciting but overwhelming, and it will be an emotional year.”

The senior corps also includes veteran dancers Ashley Westcott, Ashley Schobert, Kendra Riley, Amber Wickstrom, Shayna Berberich and Karly Neuberger.

Annie Klumpp is the lone junior on the team. She’s joined by five sophomores: Tanya Tingle, Madi Rosenau, Bayleigh Holter, Kaylee Riley and Anna Sorenson. A trio of freshmen – Hailey Stengel, Makenzie Smith and Lindsey Schobert – complete the roster of 17, which is the largest roster yet in the local program’s history.
“Seventeen is the largest team we’ve ever had. We’re excited about that, but is also challenges us because of the added numbers,” Kuhn said. The expanded team, she adds, is the result of the program’s repeated success the last few seasons.

Kuhn says the senior-laden team is “in it to win it all” this year. That confidence comes from the program’s past success stories, taking runner-up honors at state in both 2012 and 2013. The Lady Lynx also brought home the school’s first Eastern South Dakota Conference crown in 2013, an obvious goal they hope to repeat.

“We’re here to protect the title. It’s ours right now and we don’t want to give it away,” Kuhn says. “Because when got to hang that banner in the gym last year for the first time, it was really special.”

After a season of being nipped by Sioux Falls Washington at both the Metro and state championships, Kuhn and company are working to reverse those roles this season. And they’ll get the opportunity to do that in their home gym on Oct. 13.

“The Metro is at Brandon Valley this year, so we really want to take that award in our home gym,” Kuhn said. Both the ESD and state are at Watertown. And Kuhn looks at that as an advantage for the ESD programs. “It kind of gives everyone who is at ESD a little bit of a practice, so it should be a good feeling going in to state the next week.”

While Kuhn puts the Lady Lynx at the top of both leagues, she says Washington and Lincoln could also contend for the Metro Conference crown, and lists Yankton and Watertown among its challengers for the ESD hardware.

Earlier this summer, Kuhn said the team set three goals for their 2014 season. “First, to win state, absolutely no question about that,” the coach said. “Second, to improve and grow in their technical skills and performance, and third, team unity.”

To realize those goals, the Lady Lynx coach says the girls need to stay focused and keep their priorities in order, in addition to bringing showmanship and energy to the floor for every performance.

“That was one of the elements on the judge’s list, and if we improve that, we can take that step ahead,” Kuhn said.

The Lady Lynx are going to “stick with what we’re strong at,” Kuhn says, noting the team will compete in jazz, kick and pom.

“We’ve been the kick champions for at least two years and we’re going to continue to strive to keep that title as well,” Kuhn said.

This year’s kick and jazz routines, both choreographed by Kallista Nilson, a former North Dakota State University dancer and West Fargo High School grad.

“We h ave a very fun, upbeat, sassy kick routine this year,” Kuhn shares. “Every year we say we’re not going to beat our kick routine from the year before, but every year we come back with a a great routine.”

Kuhn describes the team jazz routine “as somewhat emotional.”

“It’s about everyone remembering their name, who they are and going on to be bigger and better things. It’s pretty much about them making their mark here,” she said.

The team’s pom routine is also high energy, Kuhn said. “Pom is where we really want to improve on. We’re stronger kickers and jazz dancers, while pom is more challenging because of the larger numbers on our team.”

The Lady Lynx open their season Saturday at the Aberdeen Invite and on Sept. 2 compete at the Watertown Invite.

“The first couple of competitions are practice runs for us, and really up until ESD and Metro, everything is a trial run for us and to see what is working and what is not working,” Kuhn sasid. “It’s more of a chance for us to work out the bugs so we’re solid for those last three events.”
Aug. 30 at Aberdeen Invite
Sept. 2 at Watertown Invite
Sept. 11 at Yankton Invite
Sept. 20 at Brookings Invite
Oct. 2 at O’Gorman Invite
Oct. 7 Lynx Invite
Oct. 13 host the Metro Championship
Oct. 16 ESD Championship at Aberdeen
Oct. 25 State Championship at Watertown

Eight seniors are on Brandon Valley's 2014 competitive dance team roster. The eight seniors are, from left, row one: Ashley Schobert, Karly Neuberger, Captian Maci Smykle, Captain Alissa Kuhn, Ashley Westcott, Shayna Berberich, Kendra Riley and Amber Wickstrom; row two: Kaylee Riley, Makenzie Smith, Anna Sorensen, Bayleigh Holter, Annie Klumpp, Madi Rosenau, Tanya Tingle, Hailey Stengel and Lindsey Schobert. The team is coached by Tracy Kuhn. Photo by Jill Meier

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