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Teen athlete: Jordyn Spry

Jordyn Spry, Morgan Erickson and Lea Christensen at the 2015 state tournament. (Photo courtesy of Kim Kosmatka)1 / 2
Jordyn and Jensen Spry hold their 2015 state championship trophy. (Photo courtesy of Julie Spry)2 / 2

For senior athletes about to graduate, ending their last season with a state championship is a common goal. For Jordyn Spry, a senior at Marshall, that dream came true. After a lot of hard work, the Duluth Marshall Dance Team placed first at the Class A Minnesota State High School Jazz Dance Competition on Feb. 13.

"This year was a lot of hard work, but we came out on top as state champions," Spry said. "Winning state was the greatest feeling in the world and it was so great that I could experience it with my best friends. It proved to me that hard work absolutely pays off."

The Marshall dancers have had a few close brushes with a championship in the past years.

"My freshman year, we placed second at state after the team's fifth consecutive year of winning," Spry said. "The following year we placed fourth, which was extremely heartbreaking. Last year we were tied for first at state, but ended up placing second after a tiebreaker. Knowing that we were so close to winning sparked us to keep trying."

After six years on the team, Spry has come a long way from the little seventh-grader who was in awe of the older dancers.

"When I first decided to join the dance team I was very shy and I didn't feel comfortable dancing in front of older girls," Spry said. "Although I was intimidated by their talent, I looked up to them. I really paid attention to the way they danced and took every critique they gave me. After my first two years on the team, I turned into a more confident dancer because of the help I received from the experienced dancers."

Spry also came a long way with help from her coaches, Abbey Dehler and Tasha Johnson.

"My coaches I've had the past two years are the best coaches I have ever had," Spry said. "They really pushed me to be the best dancer I can be. They are always so encouraging and I am so thankful to have had them as coaches and friends."

Spry doesn't just limit herself to dance. She also has been involved in soccer, baseball, softball, basketball and skiing.

"I started dance when I was 3 years old and it's been a passion of mine ever since then," Spry said. "I danced at a studio for 12 years and just finished my sixth year on Marshall's dance team."

Lea Christensen is another senior at Marshall and a close teammate to Spry.

"My favorite part about being on the team with (Spry) is that she can always make everyone laugh," Christensen said. "She can tell if you're having a bad day and she'll come over to you and cheer you up with funny jokes or stories. She's always the life of the team."

A fun aspect of dance team is the opportunity for family time. Spry dances on the team with her younger sister, Jensen, a freshman.

"It has been so much fun dancing with (Jensen) these past three years and watching her grow as a dancer," Spry said. "Winning state this year was especially rewarding because I got to experience it with my sister."

Solveig Rennan is a junior at East High School and interned for the Budgeteer in 2014. If you have an idea for a teen athlete profile, email budgeteer@duluthbudgeteer.com.

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