Athlete of the week: Nicole Fricke, Rogers, Dance Team: Show Time

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

In dance team, as in any other athletic competition, it helps to be blessed with natural gifts such as physical strength, flexibility and leaping ability.

Rogers dancer Nicole Fricke has such traits to work with and is making the most of them, after a relatively late start as a dancer.

“Strength and power are the main things with Nicole. And her work ethic,” said coach Meg Leonard. “Her kick is very strong. She whips it all the way up and all the way down, which is what we look for.”

Jazz has a more leaps and turns and jumps where kick is the repetitive motion.

Nicole Fricke uses her athletic ability as a high-kicking dancer, and as a shot and discus thrower in track. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

“She excels at both kick and jazz, but kick is her best.”

This 5-foot-9 athlete is long-limbed, physically strong, and light on her feet. Also a track-and-field competitor, she had a good junior season as a thrower, highlighted by placing fifth in conference discus with 94-6.

Dance team is fun, Fricke says, because “you can express yourself in the way you dance, and you can just let everything go.”

The hard parts are building up the endurance you need to compete, and the pressure to keep up with the rest of the girls “because your team is only as good as your worst dancer.”

The competitions would seem to be exhausting, especially Rogers’ 64 high kicks in a three-minute, 15-second routine. “But you don’t realize it when you’re performing,” she said, “because you’re having fun and feeling so much energy and adrenaline.”

Fricke grew up on a sod farm and helps out in the summer so getting physical is routine. She was a karate student from age 4 to 11, with her older brother and sister. “All three of us stayed long enough to get our black belts,” said Nicole, adding she lost interest after that.
She joined a dance studio, Spotlight, in grades seven and eight, then tried out for dance team in ninth grade, largely because many of her friends were on the team.

“Nicole started as a freshman and has worked very hard to be where she is at,” said Leonard. “You’re proud to see somebody grow that much in four years on the team.”

Along with the high kicks, the skills involved are various turns, leaps and pointing toes. “You have to train your body to remember them,” said Fricke. And learning 10 or 11 different formations in a routine.

Dance team has been one of Rogers’ more successful programs. Fricke was a member of a conference champ team in 10th grade and a high-kick team that qualified for state in Class 2A. Last year the Royals were conference runners-up after a strong St. Cloud Cathedral program moved in, and didn’t make state after moving up to Class 3A in a very formidable section.

The RDT has won one conference meet so far this season and is poised to make its presence again.

“My goal this year is just to continue to make progress as a team,” said Fricke, who’s in her third season of high-kick and second of jazz at the varsity level. “We have so many young girls with a lot of potential. I think we can go to state so we are working toward that.”

Fricke found her sports niche in dance and takes pride in the girls. “Our dance team has gotten so much better throughout the years, and it feels good to be on the team and be part of it.”

THE  FRICKE  SCORECARD

Nicole Fricke

Personal file — Age: 17 … Family: parents, Terry and Diana; siblings, Joe, 20, and Meagan, 22 … Sports: track, dance team … Academics: 3.7 GPA … College plans: MN-Mankato, dental hygiene

Favorite stuff — Classes: math, art … TV shows: “Law and Order SVU” and “Family Guy” … Movie: “The Notebook” … Reading: Facebook … Food: pasta at Olive Garden … Drink: lemonade … Team: Rogers hockey … Kickback activity: family snowmobiling trips … Would like to visit: Germany

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