No. 2 is on the goal sheet for the Brainerd Warriors.

In the program's storied history, Brainerd's jazz team has only advanced to the Class 3A State final cut once.

The goal is to turn that to two at 2:12 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, as Brainerd is scheduled to hit the Target Center floor in the opening round of Class 3A meet.

Brainerd will be the second Class 3A school to perform as they'll follow Eastview on the docket.

"Everybody seems like they like to dance late, but I truthfully don't feel like it's that big of a deal when you're only talking 12 teams," Warrior head coach Cindy Clough said. "Sometimes if you're on the bubble it's maybe not as good, but I like it for nerve purposes because you get done and enjoy your day. Otherwise, like last year, I think we were 10th, so the whole day you're kind of in knots. It's kind of nice to go early."

Along with Eastview, Brainerd will be competing against Maple Grove, Mounds View, Anoka, Edina, Prior Lake, Lakeville North, Centennial, St. Cloud Tech, Wayzata and Spring Lake Park.

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State Jazz

  • When: Friday, Feb. 15
  • Who: Aitkin, Brainerd
  • Where: Target Center, Minneapolis
  • Class 1A: Qualifying-11:30 a.m.; Finals-5:30 p.m.
  • Class 3A: Qualifying-2 p.m.; Finals-7:15 p.m.

 

State kick

  • When: Saturday, Feb. 16
  • Who: Aitkin, Brainerd
  • Where: Target Center, Minneapolis
  • Class 1A: Qualifying-11:30 a.m.; Finals-5:30 p.m.
  • Class 3A: Qualifying-2 p.m.; Finals-7:15 p.m.

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Brainerd won the Section 4-3A title over Anoka and St. Cloud Tech for the first time and will carry that momentum into state.

"We're excited," Clough said. "We have goals. We're just going to do our best and this week we're fine-tuning everything we're doing. We're looking at video and seeing where we can beef up our performance.

"We're confident in where we're at. At this point, everybody is good that goes there so you just go and put on your routine and try to be as competitive as you can."

Brainerd's jazz squad finished second at Blaine, sixth at Wayzata, second at Anoka, second in the Central Lakes Conference behind Sartell, which is competing in the Class 2A meet, fourth at Lakeville South and sixth at the Brainerd invite.

The Warriors faced most of the state-qualifying teams during the regular season.

"For instance, Wayzata and Eastview have come out ahead of us and they're scoring a lot higher than we are right now," Clough said. "Lakeville North just beat Eastview and we beat Lakeville before this season so it's interesting. Anything can happen, but it's going to be tough. Everybody is good.

"We probably had one of our better years in a long time in terms of how much we've won," Clough said. "We know that the tough three teams to beat are going to be Wayzata, Eastview and Lakeville North. Other teams are listed higher than us in terms of score, like Maple Grove and Chaska, but we beat Maple Grove by 33 points the last time we saw them. They could have gotten way better, too, so that's what's hard to know."

Brainerd also scored the 2:12 p.m. time Saturday, Feb. 16, in the state kick competition at Target Center. The Warriors are the Section 4-3A champions, completing their first section sweep.

"Truthfully, we always feel like sections is more nerve-wracking than state," Clough said. "With state, you're there. But the rookies going out on the floor at the Target Center still get nervous. We talk about it a lot."

And the floor, said Clough, is one of the biggest differences between the regular season and state.

"You get five minutes on the floor before the competition and that's not much," Clough said. "We videotape it and so if it goes wrong we can show them how it's supposed to be. That's the hardest thing because the Target Center floor is bigger than a high school gym. We've been going to CLC a little bit to practice on the college floor and that floor is bigger, but the markings are so different from an NBA floor to a college court."

Chaska will open up the 3A kick competition followed by Brainerd, Wayzata, Lakeville North, Centennial, Eastview, Sauk Rapids, Prior Lake, Anoka, Spring Lake Park, Maple Grove and Henry Sibley.

The top six teams will make the cut to the finals to perform a second time in both jazz and kick. The finals will be at 7:15 p.m. both nights for Class 3A.

"That's the one thing we tell the kids and that is you can't control what other teams are doing or what they're bringing to the table," Clough said. "You can only control what you're bringing. In a judged sport, that's what you really have to focus on because there isn't that adrenaline of trying to get two more points like in basketball. You just have to control your nerves and control what you can control."

 

Class 1A

The Aitkin dance team drew the 12:12 p.m. slot for Friday's jazz competition. Aitkin finished second behind defending state champion Frazee in the Section 4-1A meet.

Aitkin was third in kick and will hit the floor at 12:33 p.m. Saturday.

Frazee is the defending state kick champions, too.