With just one graduating senior in Brittany Wilaby, the Mayer Lutheran dance team is already making plans for the 2014-15 season.
This season, the Crusaders captured their third consecutive Minnesota River Conference championship and also won the Minnesota Timberwolves Invitational for the third straight year.
With an altered schedule due to winter storms, the Crusaders only competed in two MRC events this year, an anomaly that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Mayer Lutheran struggled with injuries. One injured dancer among a team of 15 may be acceptable for some teams, but with the Crusaders’ small squad of six, anyone missing becomes crucial.
LHS head coach Maryann Porter said one low point of the season was “the multiple injuries we had in early January, which hampered progress during the second half of the season.”
Having to adjust routines for injuries, the Crusaders decided to place most of their season focus on the jazz routine, letting the high kick fall to the wayside this year.
“The season started out strong for this team and no one could have predicted so many injuries,” Porter said. “But this team still persevered each week.”
The Crusaders finished third at BOLD on Dec. 7 and followed up with a win in jazz and a second place finish in high kick at the first MRC meet, which they hosted Dec. 19.
At their home invitational on Jan. 18, the Crusaders were in the midst of their injuries and finished fifth in jazz and seventh in kick.
At the second and final MRC meet on Jan. 30 in Belle Plaine, the Crusaders were second in jazz, but with their earlier first place win, captured the MRC title. The team also finished third in the high kick.
“I am so proud of this team because they learned how to dance in the rain,” she said.
After three tie-breakers at the Section 2A meet in early February, the Crusaders finished fourth in jazz behind Concordia Academy, just narrowly missing a chance at the state tournament, which they are now hungry for next season. The high kick team was eighth at sections.
“This team is already making plans for the next year,” Porter said. “With five returning varsity dancers, this team will be filled with lots of experience and determination to make it back to the state floor.”
Those returning dancers will include Maddie Bakken, Kaitlyn Bohach, Amanda Wade, Erin Wandersee, and Lauren Wisch, many who received honors this season.
Wilaby, Bakken, and Bohach were this year’s All-Conference winners, recognized for their efforts with the jazz squad. Wisch received All-Conference Honorable Mention honors in the high kick.
Porter was also named the MRC Jazz Coach of the Year.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]