Cheyenne Moorse as part of the kick routine. Merissa Traen performed with the Jazz Team. Hannah Kopitzki was in the middle of the kickers.he Sensations light stick routine after the game is always a highlight.

Sensations kicking their way through the season

One step at a time. The goal of the Canby-Minneota Sensations dance team is to make it to the “Big Dance” Feb. 16-17 at Target Center in Minneapolis after missing the state tournament by one place in High Kick last season.

But coaches and team members realize other factors such as showing steady improvement in skills, scores and rankings in both High Kick and Jazz throughout the season must be first achieved before they can achieve that ultimate goal.

“We have been progressing at each competition, which is our goal,” said third-year varsity coach Jordyn Stutelberg. Shauna Vernlund and Morgan Hansen have been assistants for three and two years, respectively, for the Sensations.

The team’s success last year has assisted in additional popularity in the sport as evidenced by the roster increasing by eight over last year, from 25 to 33. Fourteen of the girls on this year’s team are from Minneota and the other 19 are from Canby.

“We have added more girls to our team and have watched everyone improve throughout the season,” said Stephanie Kimpe, a senior captain from Minneota. “It’s an amazing opportunity to push these girls to their full potential as their captain.”

The other captains for the Sensations are Maddie Verhelst and Katie Friehl. The Sensations have had three competitions to date, including at Renville, Bird Island and Dawson.

In the Dawson meet on Friday, the Sensations placed fourth in High Kick and fifth in Jazz. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, Montevideo and Yellow Medicine East, the Sensations’ main competitors, placed higher in each competition.

“We are growing as a team overall, but I am seeing the biggest strides in kick technique and flexibility,” said Stutelberg.

The girls put in a lot of time and dedication during the off-season through various camps and weekly summer practices, which is showing this season.” Coaches are now looking for the dance members to “clean up the routines” in order to continue to see improvement.

“We need to work on kick height, stamina and sharpness,” explained Stutelberg. “The girls are dedicated and work extremely hard, so these are attainable goals.” The Sensations are hosting an invitational on Feb. 1 at the Canby High School gymnasium.

“We would love to see a lot of fans and community members present to support our team,” said Stutelberg. Last season, the Sensations placed fifth in High Kick, one place away from a trip to the state tournament.

The four teams from Section 3A that placed higher in High Kick were BOLD, Yellow Medicine East, Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd and Montevideo. BOLD finished second at the state competition, followed by YME in third and LQPV/DB fourth. The Sensations’ Jazz team placed 10th at sectionals last year.

YME was third in state and LQPV/DB fifth in Jazz.

“The choreography team has made this year’s dance a lot more difficult compared to last year,” said Kimpe.

“We are working on changes that we have made throughout the season to get ready for sections.”

“My alumni team, LQPV-DB, is looking strong this year as they placed first at BOLD and Dawson,” said Stutelberg, when asked who the Sensations’ top competitors are.

“BOLD, YME and Montevideo are also strong competitors that have experience at the state tournament. The Sensations are hoping to mix it up this season.”

The Section 3A tournament will be held on Feb. 10 in Montevideo this year.

“We would love to see as many loud and excited fans as possible in the stands,” Stutelberg remarked.

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