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Synchronization key to success

Forest Hills dancers grab first-place at Portland tournament


by: COURTESY PHOTO - Alex Minor, Nikaya Frye and Macy BeLusko smile with their blue ribbons after the Forest Hills Lutheran Schools dance team captures first-place at the Lutheran Elementary School Tournament in Portland.Synchronization was the key to a first-place finish earlier this month for Forest Hills Lutheran School’s dance team.

“We had our ‘Rockettes’ line, but there was no high kicking,” dance team coach Kim Brennan said Friday of the squad’s 4-minute routine. “We made sure our girls were in sync ... that everyone could do all the skills.”

The strategy paid off for the Cornelius school. Its dance squad — made up of eight girls in fifth- through eighth-grades — beat out 10 other teams from California, Washington and Oregon on Concordia University’s Portland campus Feb. 22 to bring home the top trophy.

Dance was just one discipline measured during a three-day annual competition called the Lutheran Elementary School Tournament (LEST), sponsored by Concordia in partnership with private schools that are part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Other areas included singing, chess, piano, math, science, basketball, swimming and more. Forest Hills, a private school located in Cornelius, picked up nine blue ribbons and an individual first-place at the 2014 version of LEST.

Blue ribbons came in handbells and choir, as well as the following music disciplines: Paige McIntyre and Ross Mackinnon, piano; Ruth Moeller, Aubrey Crouch, Gabe Henkemeyer and Maya Harrison, vocal solo; and Nikaya Frye, Alex Minor and Macy BeLusko, trio.

Noah Burkhart took first-place and his team took third-place in math. Nicholas Eros, Noah Burkhart and Parker Eakin each took fourth-place in chess. by: COURTESY PHOTO - Alex Minor, Nikaya Frye and Macy BeLusko smile with their blue ribbons after the Forest Hills Lutheran Schools dance team captures first-place at the Lutheran Elementary School Tournament in Portland.

In swimming, Ross Mackinnon took second-place in the 50 meter breaststroke, the 50 freestyle and the 100 individual medley (IM). Ruth Moeller was third in the 25 breaststroke and the 26 backstroke. Emma Buck took fourth in the 50 butterfly and the 50 breaststroke and fifth in the 100 IM. And Logan Chinn earned fourth-place in the 100 IM.

The FHLS dancers enjoyed performing in front of a full house, said Brennan.

“The gym was full and it was a big venue, so that was exciting for the girls and for us,” said Brennan, who mentors the team along with Mary Rockford and Audrey Borgmann. “Everything really came together for us.”

Wearing Falcon green and white, team members claimed their blue ribbons with big smiles on their faces.

“The fact that the girls worked so well together was super rewarding,” noted Brennan.

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