Wayzata Trojets Stick to Routine for their Last Home Competition of the Season


Trojets gather to honor Head Coach Leslie Swiggum after the double state championship win.

Katie Imdieke, Senior Writer

Head Coach of 44 years, Leslie Swiggum, passed the baton after a double state championship win to cap off last season. The Trojets keep their traditions and routines under a new head coach, while keeping Swiggum’s legacy strong in the winning program.

The dancers fill the gymnasium and start their team stretches on a practice day. Practicing the dance full-out and developing routine changes are in full swing to get the team ready to compete against every other school giving it their all. Senior Captain Saylor Campbell said, “Every run is worth it. The physical pain and how difficult it is, is worth it. It’s really mind over matter and choosing to push through how tired we are.” With Saylor’s time on the dance team coming to a close along with 10 other senior dancers, they are taking value to every full-out dance, and every last meet day they get.

After a slight coaching shift with Head Coach Leslie Swiggum retiring after 44 years with the team, Coach Alyse Iorio has stepped up without missing a beat. Senior Erin Anderson said, “Coach [Iorio] has a lot more of a modern take on dance in general, and mixed with Swiggum’s old school style and her wealth of experience, it was something pretty neat. Now, Coach I is the lead, but we always keep Swiggum’s legacy here in our dances and throughout the team. 

One thing that hasn’t changed for the dancers through the coaching shift is the winning, which has not ceased. The Trojans have placed first at all of their Lake Conference meets this season for their kick dance. For their jazz dance, the Trojans have had two first place wins and one second place for their Lake Conference meet days this season. At invites, they placed 4th and 2nd for jazz, and 2nd for kick two times at both Eastview and Chaska High School. All of these wins and learning opportunities have led to the team receiving the 1st place wins at the Conference Champions meet on Friday, January 10th.

The 2020 Varsity Trojet Jazz team. Jazz is the dancers’ majority favorite over kick because of the passion and emotion that goes into their dance.

The typical competition day for the Trojets has stayed consistent, however. Junior Captain Ella Winston said, “We have many things we do as a team before meets, including stretching together, eating chocolates, and getting hand sanitizer from Coach I right before going on the floor.” She also mentions that she has her own rituals including her own stretching for a certain amount of time, and doing handshakes with her teammates.

After stretching with the team, senior Erin Anderson comes in as the team’s makeup artist, applying blush to every dancer’s face for each competition, “It’s super fun to have that one on one interaction with each girl before we go out there, I usually say ‘You got this girl’ or ‘You look so beautiful!’ It’s just a great start and helps me and everyone else get ready to go out there and give it our all,” Anderson said.

The 2020 Varsity Kick team for the Trojets have been very successful this season, placing first at all of their meets with the lake conference.

Stretching, changing, and hair and makeup are all done. There are 10 minutes until the dancers go onstage. The nerves start to kick in. Individual rituals start to occur. Erin Anderson gathers her friends for prayer, Saylor Campbell starts her handshakes, starting with her dance team sister, her actual sister, Fia, and finishing with friend, Addy Berling. Lauren Fornshell taps the floor a certain number of times, and everyone is getting their mindset ready to perform, “Dance is like 99% mental and 1% actual skill on the floor. Having the confidence to go out there and do it is something our team strives for every time.”

Come catch your reigning state champion Trojets on their home floor this weekend for the Wayzata Invite! Dance times for B squad, JV and Varsity are on the MSHSL website. See you there Trojan fans!