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Prescott dancers to bring 'fire' and 'passion' to home conference competition

Seniors Madison Dorau and Emma Carlson are pictured performing Prescott's pom routine at a girls basketball game. Dorau and Carlson, along with their co-captain Madison Hoikka, are excited to host their conference dance competition on Saturday, Jan. 13. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia

The Prescott dance team seniors have been on the road for every conference competition so far in their varsity careers. Freshman year they traveled to Eau Claire North, then it was Eau Claire Memorial their sophomore year, and they headed to River Falls for their junior-year conference competition.

But Prescott's dancers won't be reserving a bus for conference this year.

Prescott High School and its dance team are pleased to host this year's competition on Saturday, Jan. 13.

"I think it's pretty cool that we get to host conference because we've never really gotten the opportunity," senior Emma Carlson said.

Historically, Prescott has never had a venue big enough to hold the conference competition, but with the town's new high school, the Cardinals finally get to play host at conference.

"People in our town hear about the dance team a lot, but this gives them a chance to actually come here and see who we are," Carlson said.

"It'll be a lot of fun because we have a lot of local businesses and alumni who'll be here too, so it's like the whole community," senior Madison Dorau added.

Madison Hoikka, another senior member of the dance team, also said that the conference competition will be a great opportunity for young Prescott dancers to come check out the team that they could potentially be a part of in the future.

Hosting conference comes with other benefits, too.

"[Hosting] is super nice, especially for formations," Dorau explained. "Every gym is different, but we know this gym obviously better than any other gym."

The team will continue to travel around the state in January for the rest of competition, so Carlson said her team will greatly appreciate getting to perform in their home gym that they've grown accustomed to.

"I think it'll be nice to have a competition where we don't have a ton of nerves just because we're in Prescott and we perform and practice here every single day," Carlson said. "It'll be nice to see familiar faces and a familiar court before it gets to the big competitions where we're not going to be familiarized."

"It's like our own little comfort zone," Hoikka added.

Although they'll be dancing on a well-known floor for conference and are already focused on how they'll be able to make improvements for regionals and state, the Prescott seniors know their team cannot overlook their Jan. 13 competition.

"I know for us seven seniors, we can only count how many more times we have left to perform these dances on two hands, so I think we just have to cherish every moment and just really try to do our best in each performance," Carlson said. "Even though we're not up against the biggest competition we'll see [all year], it's still important because [conference] is a performance that we can use to work towards state."

"There's no room for slacking," Dorau said. "We always have to one up our past performances. We can't really take any steps back at this point."

The Cardinals have competed in two competitions — the Menomonie Holiday Classic and Little Chute Invitational — so far this season where they claimed three first-place finishes. In Menomonie, the team took first in both pom and jazz, but fell to second place in jazz at Little Chute. Prior to their second-place finish in Little Chute, the Prescott seniors had never taken less than first in any competition other than at state.

"It was really hard to deal with at first," Hoikka said. "We were all just kind of not in the greatest moods — I mean, nobody really is after a loss, but after a little while we just picked ourselves up and realized that we all have the same goals and we just have to focus on ourselves and what we can possibly do better, because we can't really control what other teams do."

"[Losing] is almost like a blessing in disguise," Dorau said, "because if we would have won against our biggest competitions, we might have taken that as, 'Oh we're good, we don't need to keep working as hard,' but this gives us more motivation to keep working and pushing hard."

After receiving similar criticisms from the judges at both Menomonie and Little Chute, Prescott's head coach Sam Schoen took the team's feedback into consideration and implemented new improvements to her team's two routines. To get accustomed to their new-and-improved dances before Jan. 13, the Prescott team held three two-and-a-half-hour practices over winter break.

"Our winter break practices are usually some of the hardest, they're longer, they're tougher, but we got into practice and had some of the best practices we've ever had," Carlson said. "This team is ready, and we just have this fire and this passion that's ready for the month that we have left."

Carlson, Dorau and Hoikka invite all of Prescott to come watch their team use it's "fire" and "passion" that they'll use in their emotionally-packed pom and jazz performances on Saturday, Jan. 13. The Prescott High School doors will open at 8 a.m. for spectators, competition will begin at 9 a.m., and awards will be presented at 3:30 p.m.