The Minnewaska Area dance teams recently held their season-ending banquet at which time the Lakers announced the season’s team awards.

The Lakers placed fourth in the High Kick and Jazz competitions at the Section 2A Dance Meet this year at NLS High School.  St. Cloud Cathedral, Holdingford and NLS claimed the top three spots in both competitions.

SCC and Holdingford have been among the top teams in state all year and both went on to claim the state Class A High Kick and Jazz titles.

The Laker dance teams competed in 12 meets this season, including the section meet.

 The dance teams did win one competition this season as both teams were first at the 6-team BBE Invitational early in the season.

The High-Kick team was also second at the Minnewaska Invitational and third in four other meets, while the Jazz team also placed fourth in four competitions this season.

Dance team awards

For the Varsity High Kick team, Anna Uecker earned the Most Outstanding Dancer Award, Avarie Uhde won the award for the Best Kicks, Katie Sorenson earned the Most Improved Award and McKenna Uhde earned the Biggest Cheerleader Award.

Cacee Danielson earned the Most Outstanding Dancer for the Varsity Jazz team, while Kia Matt won the Best Turns Award, Mesa Kittelson won the Best Leaps/Jumps Award, Taylor Danter earned the Most Improved honor and Autumm Hess won the Biggest Cheerleader Award.

For the JV Kick team, Aubri Suckstorff earned awards as the Most Outstanding Dancer and Biggest Cheerleader, while Tyla Ziesmer won the Best Kicks Award and Tenley Steinhofer was named for the Most Improved Award.

Makenna Swalla was the named the Most Outstanding Dancer for the JV Jazz team, while Katy Vold earned the Best Turns Award, Katie Sorenson won the Best Leaps/Jumps honor, Sydney Klassen won the Most Improved Award and Brianna Erickson was named for the Biggest Cheerleader honor.

In B-squad Jazz team awards, Mia Troen earned the  Most Outstanding Dancer Award and also won the award for Best Turns, while Libby Gulbranson earned the Best Leaps/Jumps Award, Katelynn Hurst won the Most Improved Award and Emily Nelson earned the Biggest Cheerleader honor.

•  Earning All-Conference for the Minnewaska Area High Kick dance team in 2023-24 were Anna Uecker, Makenna Swalla, Cacee Danielson and Kia Matt, while McKenna Uhde was named to the honorable mention team.

For the Jazz team, Kia Matt and Cacee Danielson were both named to the All-Conference team and Anna Uecker earned honorable mention.

Members of the team also earned a WCC Academic Team Award in 2023-24.

•  Seniors lost to graduation from this year’s Laker dance teams are Brianna Erickson, Kia Matt, Cacee Danielson, Anna Uecker and Makenna Swalla.

•  This year’s Minnewaska varsity Jazz roster includes seniors Cacee Danielson, Kia Matt and Anna Uecker; juniors Autumm Hess, Avarie Uhde and McKenna Uhde; and sophomores Taylor Dantor, Lexi Jenson, Mesa Kittelson and Lyla Stadtherr, while alternates were senior Makenna Swalla and junior Katy Vold and the manager is Xi Li.

•  The Varsity High Kick roster for 2023-24 includes seniors Makenna Swalla, Kia Matt, Cacee Danielson, Anna Uecker and Brianna Erickson; juniors Katy Vold, Katie Sorenson, Avarie Uhde, McKenna Uhde and Autumm Hess; and sophomores Taylor Dantor, Mesa Kittelson, Lexi Jenson and Lyla Stadtherr.  The alternates are freshman Tyla Ziesmer and eighth-grader Aubri Suckstorff and the manager is Xi Li.

The JV Jazz roster included seniors Brianna Erickson and Makenna Swalla; juniors Katie Sorenson and Katy Vold; ninth-graders Sydney Klassen and Tyla Ziesmer and eighth-grader Aubri Suckstorff, while the B-squad Jazz team included Mia Troen, Aaliyah Olson, Libby Gulbranson, Katelyn Hurst, Emily Nelson and Tenley Steinhofer and the manager is Rylie Molloy. 

Members of the JV Kick team were Tyla Ziesmer, Aubri Suckstorff, Sydney Klassen, Mia Troen, Aaliyah Olson, Libby Gulbranson, Katelyn Hurst, Emily Nelson and Tenley Steinhofer and the manager is Rylie Molloy.

Head coach of the Laker dance teams this year was Tana Ziesmer, who was assisted by Morgan Blair, Miriah Hetland and Mikaya Smith.

•  State meet history — Minnewaska Area qualified the Jazz and High Kick teams to state in 2021-22 and the Jazz team also went to state last year in 2022-23.

However, the Lakers moved from 4A to 2A this season where the top three teams, Holdingford, St. Cloud Cathedral, and NLS, are among the top teams in the state.

In 2020-21, the Lakers also advanced both teams to state.  The High Kick team placed ninth at state, while the Jazz team placed 10th.

And, in 2019-20, Minnewaska Area, the Jazz team qualified to state for the first trip to state for a dance team and went on to place 12th.