Gophers’ dance bonding and practicing without football and comps in the fall

first_imgGophers’ dance bonding and practicing without football and comps in the fallThe 19-time national champion and 3-time world champion Gophers dance team is one of the elite DI programs in the country.Photo Courtesy of Janelle Elise Photography Matthew Kennedy, Sports ReporterSeptember 8, 2020Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintFans of Gophers’ football and Gophers’ men’s basketball can catch the Minnesota dance team on the field and court during games, but few know the ins and outs of one of the most successful sports programs at the school.The dance team competes in two different styles: Pom and Jazz. Pom is known for being more physically demanding and requires more athleticism than the classy and expressive Jazz. While each style has its merits, fourth-year captains Leah Kasner, Katherine Hebig and Chloe Bauer agree that Jazz is their favorite.“Pom is great because you wear a uniform representing the University of Minnesota, but every time you have to do a Pom routine full-out it can be a bit intimidating. Jazz is more artistic and has an interesting story to every dance,” Kasner said.Competing in nationals last season, the Gophers finished ninth in Pom and second in Jazz. For Bauer, Kasner and Hebig — who experienced the joy of winning first place in Jazz in 2019 — eighth place in Pom stung.“It shook us, yet I was really proud of our team to turn it around in Jazz to finish second. Nationals is a high stakes week for us, and you can feel the pressure escalate going head-to-head against the best teams,” Bauer said.Despite last season’s disappointing outcome in Pom, the Gophers’ dance team has seen a wide range of success in the program’s history. The Gophers have won 19 national championships and three world championships, making it one of the most successful DI programs in the country. Kasner, Hebig and Bauer are looking forward to another successful season, even if it will be wildly unique amid the pandemic.“We haven’t officially met as a team … We’ve been having two practices a week over Zoom wherever we can find a mat and getting creative,” Hebig said.When new dancers come to campus, they usually show up for tryouts. There is little recruiting in high school, and even the skilled dancers getting looks from the Gophers are not guaranteed a spot.“We can’t offer scholarships to incoming freshmen because our budget isn’t as large as other sports,” Kasner said. “Tryouts are usually in April, and then we have May off and start the season with the new rookies. This year, tryouts were sent in by video, and it was different than anything we have done before.”Unfortunately, with comps canceled due to COVID-19 and no Big Ten football, there is little to prepare for as of now.“We have a new coach and still are learning a lot of new material, especially in Pom, and welcoming in our rookies to the program,” Bauer said.This gives the team time to grow closer, opposed to the typical schedule of practicing end zone celebrations and preparing for competition.“Right now, our focus is more on team bonding instead of practicing in the fall for learning football end zone dances and practicing for each new game. Our one big competition got moved to the spring. So, normally, we would practice our comp routines from now until January, then take a break and focus on basketball. Now that we don’t have nationals right away, we are going to start practicing harder later and can relax and focus on more team bonding,” Hebig said.But without football games or comps, the team needs to stay mentally tough as they practice to maintain their form. The Gophers have used hypnosis to help keep them focus and to provide the necessary mental toughness required to compete at the highest level.“We have a 30-minute recording that has been a part of the team for almost a decade. Coming into our freshman year, it was a little odd but it really does help,” Kasner said.The three captains recommend hypnosis for helping other athletes with mental toughness. They’ve seen results in the biggest moments.“One thing about dance that is unique is you have two minutes to perform exactly what you have been training for the entire season. So, what I love about our team is that we consistently thrive under pressure,” Hebig said.Yet, all three captains agree that the biggest reward in joining the Gophers’ dance team isn’t the program’s prestige and constant success — it’s the community formed. The trio agrees the friendships gained on the team and the opportunity to meet a wide array of alumni and make connections within the professional world is something special.last_img read more

Avian Flu Scan for Jan 30, 2018

first_imgH7 avian flu detected in pair of hunter-shot mallards in state of GeorgiaRoutine testing as part of avian influenza surveillance in wild birds found low levels of H7 RNA in two mallards shot in December by hunters in Georgia’s McIntosh Country.In a news report, the Georgia Farm Bureau said tests were conducted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wildlife services, which found small amounts of avian influenza nucleic acid in swab samples collected from the two American green-winged teal ducks. McIntosh County is on the Georgia coast.Robert Cobb, DVM, Georgia’s state veterinarian, said, “We know this virus is out there in the wild year-round and the detection of the virus in these wild ducks serves as a reminder for poultry producers to continue to be vigilant about following recommended biosecurity measures.”In the early spring of 2017, four southeastern states—Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee—reported detections of H7N9 avian influenza at poultry farms. The virus isn’t related to H7N9 circulating in China, and most of the detections involved the low-pathogenic form of the virus.Jan 24 Georgia Farm Bureau report UK detects H5N6 in 3 more locationsThe United Kingdom today reported three more highly pathogenic H5N6 outbreaks that affected three different locations, one of them in London.All of the detections involved wild birds found dead, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Aside from two mute swans found dead in a park in London, the virus was found in a tufted duck found dead in a natural park in the city of Wakefield in West Yorkshire County, about 185 miles north of London, and in eight mallards and a moorhen in Rutland County, about 100 miles north of London. The birds were found on Jan 29, and tests show the virus is a reassortant between H5N8 that has circulated in Europe and European N6 viruses.The UK reported its first H5N6 outbreak in the middle of January, and since then has reported five more. The Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland have also reported H5N6, which has mostly been found in wild birds.Jan 30 OIE report on H5N6 in the UKlast_img read more

Knight Riders cruise into the IPL play-offs

first_imgKOLKATA Knight Riders (KKR) qualified for the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs with a five-wicket win over the fading Sunrisers Hyderabad.Chris Lynn top-scored with 55 and Robin Uthappa contributed 45 as the Knight Riders overhauled Hyderabad’s total of 172-9 with two balls to spare.Prasidh Krishna had earlier claimed 4-30 for a Kolkata side that appears to be peaking at the right time after securing a third straight victory.In contrast, the previously impressive Sunrisers are losing form as the round-robin stage draws to a close.Kane Williamson’s side have now lost three on the spin and while still on top of the table for now, they could possibly be knocked off the summit if second-placed Chennai Super Kings defeat Kings XI Punjab today.Hyderabad looked in a position to post a score around 200 when they reached 127-1 with Shikhar Dhawan (50) and Williamson at the crease.Yet the loss of their captain, who made 36 off just 17 deliveries, sparked a batting collapse. They lost five wickets for 11 runs in the final two overs, including three in a row to finish the innings.Manish Pandey weighed in with 25 but, presented with the perfect platform to launch a late onslaught, the rest of the middle order fluffed their lines.Krishna completed his four-wicket haul by dismissing Shakib Al Hasan and Rashid Khan with successive deliveries in the 20th over and while he was denied a hat-trick from the last ball of the innings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was run-out trying to pinch a single.Boosted by their fine finish with the ball, the Knight Riders broke the back of their run chase thanks to their two openers.Australian Lynn was happy to play second fiddle early on, as Sunil Narine took centre stage in their partnership of 52, the left-hander launching two sixes as he made 29 in a hurry.Uthappa then helped add 67 for the second wicket and while both he and Lynn perished before the end, skipper Dinesh Karthik – who finished up unbeaten on 26 – steered his team home.They rather fell over the finish line though, losing the wicket of Nitish Rana when the scores were level, but still picked up the two points they required to become the third franchise to book a spot in the knockout stages.last_img read more

Safety board making recommendations after Saskatchewan plane crash

first_imgSASKATOON — Canada’s transportation safety board is scheduled to release recommendations today after a plane crash last year near a remote northern Saskatchewan community.All 25 people on board the West Wind Aviation plane escaped when it crashed near the Fond du Lac airstrip soon after takeoff on Dec. 13.Nine people were seriously injured and one 19-year-old man, Arson Fern Jr., later died in hospital.Investigators previously said the plane had ice on it when it took off, but the investigation was ongoing.West Wind Aviation CEO Michael Rodyniuk took over the company in October and says they’re a very different airline now.He says the airline’s northern destinations all have enhanced de-icing equipment.“We have made sweeping improvements to our equipment, infrastructure, processes and Safety Management System,” Rodyniuk said in a release Thursday.Investigators say the plane arrived at the Fond du Lac airport around 5:25 p.m. after encountering icy conditions. The plane took on new passengers and cargo, but was not de-iced before taking off again.Investigators are trying to determine why that didn’t happen and whether there was adequate equipment at the airport.West Wind Aviation had some de-icing equipment in the terminal, including two ladders, a hand-held spray bottle with electric blanket and wand, and a container of de-icing fluid.Survivors of the plane crash have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the airline was negligent, used a runway that was too short for the size and weight of the plane and did not have proper de-icing equipment. None of those allegations has been proven in court.Vice Chief Joseph Tsannie from the Prince Albert Grand Council, which represents northern First Nations including Fond du Lac, says the airline is a lifeline for the community.“Right now during freeze-up, we only depend on the airline to get in and out of community,” he says. “And the demands to haul freight into the communities is very challenging.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more