Magicians cheer crowned ‘Best of the Midwest’

Submitted Photo The Minot High cheer team poses after securing grand champion honors at the Best of the Midwest competition Jan. 15.

One quality all successful high school cheer teams must possess is the ability to memorize and learn, and quickly, at that.

The Minot High School cheer team made history last weekend, bringing back to Minot the grand championship of the high school division in the first-ever ‘Best of the Midwest’ competition, hosted by Fargo, North Dakota’s Scheels Arena, though there was one catch.

“We didn’t know going into this what it would be like or how we would score, since we didn’t know or have done any of this stuff,” Minot head coach Vytalli Klimpel admitted. “Most of it, I would say 90 percent of it we haven’t done before.”

No one would have guessed watching the Magicians’ performance in Fargo. Minot locked up a top-three finish in each of its 13 events throughout the competition, including first-place honors in the routine event that clinched its grand championship.

South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana were also represented by competing programs, and Minot High won its title over three other North Dakotan schools in the high school division: West Fargo Sheyenne, West Fargo and Watford City.

“It was awesome. The girls were so excited, they were jumping up and down,” Klimpel added. “They were really excited to get all of those placements and then for our routine, get that title of ‘grand champion.’ Especially going up against these three other high schools and them being also very good, we were really excited.”

The Magicians begun planning and practicing for the event just two months prior, working out the kinks for routines they would be debuting in front of the Fargo crowd. The competition consisted of two rounds each of solo, duo and trio performances, as well as two jump solos, two tumble solos, two stunt-off events, and one final group routine.

Lely Rivera added to Minot’s hardware haul with a triple crown win, an honor she earned for producing the highest combined score among participants in each of the three solo events. The Magicians later capped off the weekend with victories in both specialty categories as well, for best jumps and best performance of stunts.

Aided by months of training, the team’s propensity to quickly learn and memorize choreography played a crucial role in its success this weekend, and Klimpel believes will also set them up for success at the state tournament in March.

“They pick up things really well and really fast. If we throw something at them, they usually don’t take that long to get it down,” Klimpel said. “If some people aren’t picking it up, we work one-on-one with those people at different times. They’re just all really good at picking stuff up right away; we’ve trained them well enough to get them to that point.”

Klimpel and her assistant coaches began the season throwing various choreographed dances at the team at random, often with no further use for the dance outside of exercising the athletes’ memorization abilities.

The team naturally gained the ability for faster learning with practice throughout the season and greatly enjoyed undertaking a new challenge to break up their usual two-competition slate.

The state competition is next on Minot’s schedule, and Klimpel and her staff believe the weekend event went a long way in preparing the team for its season finale.

“We definitely had to work them a lot harder this season,” Kimpel noted. “Having this January one really cut time on things, and we had to learn a bunch of new things, rather than starting on things for winter competition. But I think they’ll do better now. We pushed them a lot this season, for sure, and had a lot of extra weekend practices. I think they’re ready.”


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