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The Mound Westonka Hawkettes jazz and kick dance teams are competing in the MSHSL state tourney At Target Center Feb. 14-15. (Submitted photos)

The Mound Westonka Hawkettes Dance Team has had another banner season this year, with many successes along the way. They will conclude their competitive season with a coveted trip to the MSHSL State Dance Team Tournament at the Target Center Feb.14-15.

This season, the Hawkettes have performed five different dances at each of their competitions, competing in both jazz and high kick at three different competitive levels (Varsity, JV and B-squad).  The team has taken home a lot of hardware throughout the season at all levels. Highlights include first place finishes in both jazz and high kick at the Burnsville Invitational, along with first place jazz finishes at the Delano Invitational, Wright County Jazz Meet and Simley Invitational. Overall, the Hawkettes have scored in the top four in both jazz and high kick at all of their meets against some of the top teams in the state. 

On Saturday, Feb.1, the Hawkettes competed in the Section 3AA Tournament held at Delano High School. Earning their highest scores of the season, Mound Westonka earned the title of Section Champions in jazz, earning rank points of one from each of the seven judges. They were also named Section Runner-Up in kick. The Hawkettes earned State berths in both dances.

“This team has worked so hard in both of their dances this year,” said coach Molly Carlson. “Their jazz dance is to the song ‘We Belong,’ and it speaks to the camaraderie and unity this team has. They are more than just dancers on the same team - they are friends who truly enjoy being with each other.  Their passion, strength and joy truly shine out on the floor. They have made their coaches incredibly proud all year!”

The Hawkettes’ kick dance has been equally successful throughout the season. It is a high energy, extremely visual routine with the theme of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” Coach Emily Gibson said, “The most special part of the kick dance this year is watching how the dancers perform it. They have so much fun getting into the character of the dance. Their expressions, along with the amount of athleticism they exhibit throughout the dance, makes it one of our team’s most memorable dances ever.”

There have also been impressive individual accomplishments for some of the Hawkettes this year. Five dancers were named to the WCC All-Conference team: seniors Rachel Christensen, Sophia Cherba, Annabelle Wiskus and Megan Stacey and sophomore Hallie Dierbeck. Sophomore Lauren Hildahl received All-Conference Honorable Mention. Annabelle and Rachel Christensen were named to the All State Jazz Team, and Megan Stacey and Sophia Cherba were named to the All State Kick Team. The All-State dancers will perform at the MADT All-State event held on Saturday, March 7 at Eastview High School. The All-State event highlights top dancers from high school dance teams all across the state of Minnesota.

The Hawkettes are led by captains Annabelle Wiskus, Sophia Cherba, Rachel Christensen and Megan Stacey. They are coached by Molly Carlson, Emily Gibson, Lexie Warlof, Ashley Woytcke and Margot Anderson.

The Hawkettes look forward to ending their competitive season with the MSHSL State Dance Team Tournament, which will be held at the Target Center. The jazz tournament is held on Friday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. (Hawkettes perform at 3:20), and the kick tournament is held on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. (Hawkettes perform at 2:40).

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