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Packatahnas to compete at National UDA Championship

The 2013 Packatahnas varsity team. Left to right: Libby Bahr, Brenna Kearns, Brie Pulczinski, Kourtney Kuhn, Maddison Hansen, Kaylie Holland, Heather Boerger, Madison Novacek, Drew Mapes, Bailey Nelson, Samantha Heinen, Sydney Lund, Hannah Hoeger, Ashley Swart, Breanna Kaul, Shantell Olson, Hadley Huffman, Kelsey Flanery, Morgan Reiten, Marisa Enderson, Mikayla Heupel.

For 28 years, the West Fargo Packatahnas have been impressing halftime basketball crowds and competition judges alike. With the loss of 12 seniors last year, fans and critics had their fair say, but this year’s team – consisting of seven veterans and 14 rookies – is prepared and ready to prove themselves. The team is currently working to polish their ever changing routines getting ready for this past weekend’s state competition and another shot at a national title.

“The team this year is incredibly hard-working.” head coach Jordan Jost, says, “They constantly push each other to reach not only team goals, but personal goals as well.”

It’s not a well-kept secret to anyone involved in the dance community that the main ingredient to a flawless performance is an enormous dose of hard work. Beginning in June, the team had weekly workouts with Packer Power Camp as well as scheduled practices to prepare for their annual trip to UDA (Universal Dance Association) camp. This summer the Packatahnas attended camp in Minneapolis, where they had the opportunity to work with Bonita Lovett and Chris Dupree. At this camp competition is where the team jump started their season with a first place finish.

“Camp is always a fun and stressful time. It gives the girls a good idea as to what the upcoming season is going to be like,” assistant coach Jessica Roth said. “As the season gets underway in September, beyond practice five days a week, there are team building events that bring the dancers together as a team and friends.”

“If the girls weren’t friends it would be impossible to dance together, you have to trust the people around you on the floor,” Jost said. “The better you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses the better they will dance together.”

Team building events consist not only of team dinners and sleepovers but numerous local charity events, to give back to a community that has given this group so much for nearly three decades. So far this year the team has participated in the Fargo Mini Marathon, Relay for Life, Night to Unite, Literacy Night and the West Fest Parade.

Being a member of a competitive dance team exposes these young women to more than just rigorous athletic training. They learn life-long lessons in motivation, sacrifice, teamwork, time management and dedication. They serve as role models for a younger generation and as ambassadors for our community and our state.

“I’ve never been so proud to be a part of such a dedicated team that shares a passion for dance,” senior captain Madison Novachek said, “I wouldn’t want to go into nationals with anyone else.”

The West Fargo Packatahnas will compete at the UDA National Dance Team Championships in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 2 and 3. The varsity team will compete in the Varsity High Kick and Large Varsity Jazz divisions. For this national competition, teams participating must qualify through a UDA Summer Camp ensuring the nation’s best teams are competing for the national title.

The nationally recognized Packatahnas are coached by head coach Jordan Jost and assistant coaches Kallista Nilson, Jessica Roth and Gretchen Stafslien. Junior Varsity Coaches are Hillary Ehlen and Claire Moltzan.