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Brainerd wins first MSHSL high kick title in 25 years

The Brainerd dance team won first place in the Class 3A high kick competition on Saturday for the first time in 25 years.

"I'm feeling very jubilant," longtime Brainerd coach Cindy Clough said. "Our program has been chasing [state champions]. We've been up here and been close so many times."

Clough has coached the program for 48 seasons. When asked what the process is behind a state-winning program, Clough said "it starts tomorrow," adding, "We're working on new music already."

Eastview's four-year reign as high kick state champions ended, as the Lightning finished in third place after losing a tiebreaker for second to Wayzata.

Totino-Grace was named Class 2A state champion in high kick for the first time since 2016. Austin was second, followed by Benilde-St. Margaret's in third.

"I've been coaching for 31 years, and every single time our team takes the state floor, it's always a memorable experience," Totino-Grace coach Kristen Gagnon said. "There's been something special with this group of ladies that the destiny was for them to have their accumulating competitive performance at finals, and they definitely did."

On Friday night, Wayzata topped defending champion Maple Grove for the Class 3A jazz title. The victory earned the Trojans their 12th overall state title. 2021 jazz champion Eastview finished in third.

"This has been a fantastic weekend for our team. ... We had a great finals performance and a great prelims performance, and I'm very proud of the hard work, effort and energy we brought to the table yesterday," Wayzata coach Alyse Eichorst said.

Said Eastview coach Taylor Varghese: "I'm proud to be in the top three in both jazz and kick and proud to be a part of the Minnesota dance community."

Defending 2A jazz champion Orono fell to Benilde-St. Margaret's in a tiebreaker for first. That victory marked the Red Knights' first championship since 2018. Mound Westonka was third.

In Class 1A, Holdingford took home Saturday's high kick title. Yellow Medicine East placed second, while Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd finished third. Both schools finished in the same respective places in the state jazz competition on Friday.

Last year's high kick champion, St. Cloud Cathedral, failed to place but took home its third consecutive title in jazz on Friday.