Way back in October, some three-plus months from the Section 2AAA Meet, Chanhassen head coach Kelly McGinnis and staff knew exactly what this season on the dance floor was all about.

How immediately the team bought in to the team standards. Something the athletes can draw from on the good days and the bad.

"The first week of the season, they wrote their standards for both inside and outside of practice. We talk about them every day and try to incorporate them into HOW we do things. In addition, our athletes continually ask themselves WHY they are at practice, WHY they love to dance. Focus on the how and why keeps them grounded, motivated, and coming back every day ready to work at their best," McGinnis said.

Chanhassen steadily has climbed through the ranks of Section 2AAA. It's no easy feat with the likes of Wayzata, Maple Grove, Chaska, Edina, and Eden Prairie.

Momentum seems to be gained each year. The hope is the payoff for that continued growth in the program comes this season.

"Last year, we were so close to qualifying for the state tournament and I think that is still in the minds of our returning athletes. It's a hard thing to forget and they do use that as motivation for this season, but this is a new group of dancers together on the floor and they recognize that as well," McGinnis said.

They have set new goals for this season and I witness every day how accountable and driven they are to reach those goals," she added.

The varsity kick team, third behind Chaska and Benilde-St. Margaret at the first Metro West Conference event, is compiled mostly of veterans from previous seasons.

"They are seasoned athletes and they are hungry for their own definition of success," the coach said.

The jazz team, while small, also is one to watch after placing third as well in the opening league event.

"I have never coached a more accountable and connected group of athletes. They have proven to be selfless, determined, and very supportive of each other," McGinnis said.

The coach said the JV kick and jazz rosters have a nice mix of experience and rookies. The positive energy from new members has created a new dynamic in team culture.

Chanhassen competes in its first invitational on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Eastvoew High School. Additionally, the final conference events, Dec. 17 at Robbinsdale Cooper and Dec. 21 at Benilde-St. Margaret, remain.

"For us, December is a combination of survival of a busy schedule, building endurance, and evaluating where our routines need to be tweaked and improved for our January push towards sections," McGinnis said. "We took more time this year to focus on team culture, goal setting, and having fun. Creating that culture early is essential to a successful season. We feel confident that taking time to work on culture will pay off in the end."

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