The Prior Lake dance team's hope this winter is to qualify for state in both jazz funk and high kick.
And after finishing the South Suburban Conference season, that goal could come to fruition if the Lakers keep improving.
Led by its senior captains Izzy Derks, Emma Gordon, Lauren Pahl and Jillian Roscoe, Prior Lake finished third overall at the SSC Championships Dec. 16 in Farmington. The team was second in jazz and fourth in high kick.
Eastview ended up winning its 16th straight league title, finishing first in both dances. Lakeville North was second overall, taking second in high kick and third in jazz, while Lakeville South was fourth overall with a third-place finish in high kick and a fourth-place finish in jazz.
The Section 1AAA meet is set for Feb. 10 at Bloomington Kennedy. The top three finishers in both jazz and kick make the state field. Eastview, Lakeville North, Prior Lake and Lakeville South will be vying for those three spots, while Burnsville seems to be in that next group.
The Blazettes were tied for fifth overall at the SSC Championships, taking fifth in both dances.
Meanwhile, Prior Lake was fourth in the first two league jazz meets to open the season, fourth in the first kick competition and third in the second one. So the Lakers have been making strides, especially with their runner-up finish in jazz at the SSC Championships.
Getting to state in both dances in Section 1AAA will probably come down to a few style things, a small mistake here or there and, of course, how the judges feel.
Prior Lake will be busy leading up to sections.
The team starts the New Year competing in the Best of the Best Invitational at the University of Minnesota Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. The Lakers are in the Edina Invitational Jan. 6, the Bloomington Kennedy Invitational Jan. 12, the Wayzata Invitational Jan 20 and the Eastview Showcase Jan. 27.
Prior Lake has qualified five straight years in jazz, finishing a program-best fifth last year and taking sixth in 2016. The Lakers have never made the state field in high kick.
This year's state competition is Feb. 16-17 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Jazz funk is the first day, followed by high kick the next day.
Eastview has won the last two state titles in both dances.
Meanwhile, other overall finishes in the SSC Championships included: Apple Valley (T5th), Eagan (7th), Farmington (8th), Rosemount (9th) and Shakopee (10th).