Mitchell Stingerz parade around town to celebrate their success

MITCHELL – The Mitchell Stingerz Dance team celebrated their state championship run, by riding in a precession through Mitchell led by the Fire Department.

Stingerz Dancers in no particular order: Jorja Lamm, Bella Morrow, Paige Martin, Lily Russell, Cadie Haley, Janeva Gill, Maggie Hudson, Andrea Williams, Angeleigh Asbury, Alex Shepherd, Madison Smith, Lila Bodkins, Maddie Gerkin, Emily Austin, Rylan Simpson, Cheyenne Pemberton, Megan Bugh, Hannah Clark, Briley Walbeiser, Paige Miller

Michelle Zehr is in her 13th year as a dance coach with Mitchell, three of those years as an assistant before taking over the reins. She knew this year would be a struggle with covid, but recognized that she had a special group of girls.

“They are super hard working. With COVID-19 still being an issue during this school year, they had stretches where they were unable to practice, and that can be hard for dancers as every routine has to be spot on,” said Zehr. “So we had to be smart about how we practiced because their endurance needed to be worked on to avoid major injuries. They are a resilient group of kids who worked their hind-ends off and wanted to win.”

Coach Michelle Zehr

The leadership shown by the upperclassmen truly made this team special, with the continued support of each other. And although Hannah Clark, Briley Walbeiser, Paige Miller are set to graduate this May, Zehr knows the team will be in good hands. 

“Most of these dancers are Sophomores and Freshman, but we will miss the strong leadership from our three seniors who are leaving us. But with the young dancers, and even with the Junior High School Dancers, seeing that leadership and knowing that’s what they need to do when they get there is truly important,” Zehr said.

Michelle and her coaches Chey-Ann Harbstreit (left), Abigeil Briscoe (middle right), and Brittany Crosby (right)

The team came together under the instruction of Zehr, and with the help of her coaching staff of Brittany Crosby, Abigeil Briscoe, and Chey-Ann Harbstreit, the team was able to focus on each task at hand.

“I have a great coaching staff around me. Sometimes there would be situations where we would have to focus on multiple areas in the same practice, and I could hand it off to another coach that I trust. It truly made a difference, and I get asked ‘why do you have so many coaches’ and I always answer that it is nice to be able to hand off or tag out and help in other areas with someone who is 1,000 percent there for them.”

The season is over for now, but this team is young and hungry for the next opportunity to perform for another state championship.