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FALL SPORTS 2017: PAGE 5 PRESS & DAKOTAN ? PLAIN TALK Yankton Cheer, Dance Teams Under New Leadership BY JAMES D. CIMBUREK James.cimburek@yankton.net When the Yankton competitive cheer and dance teams open the 2017 season on Aug. 29, both teams will be under new guidance. Lindsay Kortan, who spent the last two years at Bon Homme, has taken over the competitive cheer program. Emily Smith, who spent over a decade coaching club dance teams in Sioux Falls before moving to Yankton, takes over the competitive dance squad. Here is a look at each of the two new coaches: Lindsay Kortan For the first time since competitive cheer became a high school sport in South Dakota, the Yankton Gazelles will have a new leader. Lindsay Kortan, a former Gazelle, takes over the program from Kerry Evans, who helped begin the varsity program in 2007. Kortan graduated from Yankton High School in the spring of 2006, just missing the varsity sport era for Gazelles cheer. Since getting in to teaching and coaching, her goal has been to return home. “My husband and I live in Yankton,” she said. “It was my plan to make it back here, and I have.” Kortan sent an early message about how the Gazelles would be during her tenure. “In our first meeting, I went over our priorities,” she said. “Cheer can be a pretty dangerous sport, so our first priority is safety. Number two is attitude and effort. “That puts winning as third, but I find that if attitude and effort are there, usually the winning follows.” Her desire to coach extends beyond the desire to compete or to teach. “I coach because I like to spend time with the girls,” Kortan said. “I find it enjoyable. I like to have fun.” Kortan believes that cheer — and other sports — have lessons that reach far beyond the competition floor. “I think sports — participation in sports — teaches more than just the sport itself and the technique of the sport,” she said. “It teaches cooperation, being committed to something and showing determination and perseverance.” Moving up to Class AA after coaching in Class A has come with some adjustments, Kortan said. “There are a lot more girls with a tumbling background because of the gymnastics program that Yankton has, so that helps us out a lot,” she said. “For the most part, things are very similar: teaching good technique, teaching basic skills so that you can move into the more elite stunts.” Emily Smith After over a decade of running a competitive dance club squad in Sioux Falls, Emily Smith moved to Yankton and embraced a new opportunity: high school dance. “When I moved to Yankton, this opened up,” said Smith, who took over from former Gazelle Anne Kinsley. “I thought it would be something new and different to try.” For Smith, the opportunity to focus on one squad — not a number of squads ages 4 and up — was also appealing. Once she began to train the Gazelles, she learned she had plenty to work with. “The girls are awesomely trained in Yankton,” Smith said. “Dance has been a big part of their lives, so they’re already trained.” Smith hopes to build on that training level. “We got a good choreographer, and the routine challenges them,” she said. Follow @JCimburek on Twitter JAMES D. CIMBUREK/P&D Emily Smith (left) and Lindsay Kortan take over Yankton’s competitive dance and competitive cheer programs for 2017. Young YHS Dance Squad Ready To Make Waves In Class AA BY JAMES D. CIMBUREK James.cimburek@yankton.net A young squad joins new head coach Emily Smith as the Yankton Gazelles competitive dance squad looks to make waves in Class AA. The Gazelles have four seniors, two juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen on the squad this season. “We have some great senior leaders on the team,” A veteran Yankton Gazelles competitive cheer squad, including seven seniors and four Smith said. “We have some very strong freshmen and juniors, is ready for its first season under coach Lindsay Kortan. sophomores.” Yankton had a veteran group a season ago, meaning it took a little time for athBY JAMES D. CIMBUREK good job of providing positive skills have gone up. We’ll be a letes to adjust to new roles. “We got off to a slow start, feedback.” lot better this year.” James.cimburek@yankton.net but Coach has been great,” Seniors include Makenzie The Gazelles open the said senior Leah Waid. “We Delozier, Tessa Folkers, Taylor season at the Watertown New head coach Lindsay lost a lot of seniors, but we Kotschagarow, Abby Kuipers, Invitational on Aug. 29, then Kortan takes over a veteran have a lot of amazing sophoNicole Langdon, Megard and return home for their one squad as the Yankton comhome event, the Yankton mores. It’s been an interestpetitive cheer team begins its Lauren Vik. Juniors include Samantha Kortan, Amy Invitational, on Sept. 7. Having ing transition.” 2017 season. Kortan is the first new face Pierce, Madison Schaefer and a meet before the home meet The Gazelles roster in charge of the Gazelles since Miranda Schulte. Sophomores is a good warmup, according includes seniors Waid, SavanMadison Anstine, Larkyn to Vik. the program began in 2007. nah Frick, Piper Mikkelsen Mason and Payton Steffensen, “It’s exciting to have an Kerry Evans, who stepped and Emily Novak, juniors Tia freshman Meghan Delozier away meet before we have our Vlasman and Olivia Liebig, down after the 2016 season, and eighth graders Keyara Ma- meet at home,” she said. “We had either been co-coach or sophomores Kelsie Faulk, Kyhead coach since the program son and Milena Nedved round can get our first meet jitters lie Briest, Brynlyn Hambergout the roster. out of the way.” was formed. er, Megan Highland, Paige One of the things Coach The Gazelles have eight “It’s going really well,” Hoesing, Larykn Mason and Kortan has worked on is meets before the Eastern senior Kendall Megard said Payton Steffensen, and freshadding to the team’s skill set, South Dakota Conference of the transition. “She’s been men Bergen O’Brien, Grace allowing for a more difficult Championships, Oct. 12 in pushing us a lot, which will Liebig and Lainey Renken. routine. Huron. State will be held Oct. pay off by the end of the While Smith is in her first “In the past they had never 21 in Rapid City. season.” season with the Gazelles, done anything single-leg, and The Gazelles finished 12th she had run a club dance The 17-member squad we put in a lot of single-leg a season ago, and have not fin- program in Sioux Falls for boasts seven seniors and stuff,” she said. “It is huge in ished better than ninth since four juniors, which has also over a decade before moving terms of progressing the difplacing fifth in 2011. helped the transition. Three to Yankton. ficulty level.” “Our goal is to do well at sophomores, a freshman and “Coach is super experiChallenges like that have state,” Megard said. “We want two eighth graders round out enced. She really knows a lot the team excited, according to place better than in past the lineup. about dance,” said Frick, a years.” “It will be tough next year, to Vik. senior. “She has been good “We have some stunts but it’s nice to have that about getting our routines with a hard level of difficulty,” Follow @JCimburek on senior leadership,” Kortan clean.” she said. “We have a lot more Twitter. said. “They’ve been doing a In competitive dance, tumbling, and our stunting teams are scored on three dances in four disciplines: hip hop, kick, jazz and pom. off a season ago. A roster season,” said Brenner. “This The Gazelles will have rouloaded with experience and team is fun to watch and we tines in all four. skill should make for a fun are excited to see what we “You never know how season for Yankton and their can accomplish.” FROM PAGE 4 things are going to go during fans. the season,” Smith said. “It “The guys have a goal to Follow @bigheadbenny13 the talented Bucks squad gives us more options.” not only make the playoffs, on Twitter pick up right where they left The “option” that has but win games in the post- Veteran Cheer Squad Ready For Challenge YHS Soc SIGNS OF ALL KINDS 665-1902 2100 Broadway, Yankton Mall Daily Lunch Specials A YHS Bronze Partner! TARPING SYSTEMS AND ACCESSORIES Stop by our Outlet Store for sales, installs and Genuine replacement tarps and parts. Magnets • Banners Vinyl Lettering & Graphics Large Digital Printing Service & Repair Signs Bucket Truck Available 3206 E. Hwy. 50 • Yankton, SD 605-665-2957 “Don’t Gamble” - Insure With M.T. & R.C. SMITH INSURANCE, INC. 204 W. 4th St., PO Box 1077 Yankton, SD • 605-665-3611 Toll Free: 1-888-665-3611 Fax: 605-665-2560 DAKOTA BEVERAGE COMPANY 4532 N. Cliff Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104 605-339-2337 ® SHUR-CO OUTLET STORE 2309 Shur-Lok St., Yankton, SD 605.665.6000 shurco.com 1801 Summit St. Yankton • 668-5234 For more information go to: www.cityofyankton.org Mozaks Floors and More 1205 Broadway Ave Monday-Friday 9-6, Saturday 9-5 (605)665-9728 www.mozaksfloorsandmore.com FloorsDesign Center & More Interior The Yankton competitive dance team brings a young but talented squad into the 2017 season, the first under coach Emily Smith. the Gazelles excited is the hip-hop routine. Yankton has a strong history in the discipline — posting the state’s top score four times from 2007-2012 — but it has not been an emphasis in recent years. “We haven’t done hip hop in quite a few years before last season,” Frick said. “We’re excited about showing that one off specifically.” The Gazelles open the season at the Watertown Invitational on Aug. 29, then host their lone home event, the Yankton Invitational, on Sept. 7. “I am very excited to see them go out on the floor. They want to hit the floor hard,” Smith said. “We have a very awesome hip hop routine, and I’m excited for them to show off some strong hip hop dancers.” Yankton will have eight events before the Eastern South Dakota Conference Championships, Oct. 12 in Huron. The team is not shy about their goals. DANCE | PAGE 6 2504 Fox Run Parkway 665-4433
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