A group of Coon Rapids high schoolers wrapped up the school year at the top of their game. They've got rhythm, attitude and now… a trophy.
Step into the world of Coon Rapids High School's latest championship team and you will see black combat boots marching in unison, and hear the echo of dozens of hands clapping as one.
On one of the last days of the school year, class was dismissed at Coon Rapids High School, but the school’s gymnasium remained a busy place. Inside, a group of students performed an intricate pattern of foot stomps, hand claps and chants. It all comes together to form a series of complex rhythms – and that is the art of step team.
Co-captains Faith Osei and Cha'Nya Scarborough just led the relatively new Coon Rapids Step Team to victory. The team wrapped up their second season in existence with a district championship.
“This year our goal was just to win,” said Osei. “I thought it was going to be easy, looking at videos of it, until I actually started doing it and I realized this is going to be way harder. Because hearing the beat and actually making the beat is way harder.”
“It takes a lot of dedication,” explained Scarborough.
Mastering step also has a lot to do with confidence. When it's time to perform, any sign of doubt must be long gone.
“You have them negative thoughts but when we start stepping, they all wash away and you think about showing your energy and giving it your all,” said Scarborough.
If confidence is key, friendship is a close second. The young team formed a lasting bond and Coach Melissa Reich said their success was well deserved.
“They're just awesome, every last one of them,” Reich said of the team. “They're dedicated, they work hard, they do what they're supposed to do; they're just great kids... Amazing kids.”
The team meets throughout the entire school year. They develop new routines every few weeks, and compete once a month from December through May, culminating in the Anoka-Hennepin district step competition. Teams from Anoka High School, Champlin Park and Blaine competed. Coon Rapids placed first.
“It felt really good, like, I cried!” said Scarborough.
“It felt great,” said Osei. “It felt good to brag about winning!”
Bragging rights and a championship title are not a bad way to step into summer break.
“As you watch you can see that it's very culturally diverse,” said Reich, “which is probably my favorite part about it. But you watch kids that might be quiet or shy really have a moment to shine. It's cool to see them kind of find their spotlight.”
Jennifer Anderson reporting
June 15, 2018