The Faribault Emeralds won the state Class 3A high kick dance championship and all of its competitors were disqualified for protesting because they say Faribault copied an out-of-state team's moves.
Faribault was one of six teams that competed Saturday in the finals of the high kick competition at Target Center. The five others — Wayzata, Eastview, Chaska, Lakeville South, and Eden Prairie — disobeyed instructions to line up for the awards ceremony. Instead, they held hands and the other end of the floor and stayed away in protest.
That resulted in the five being disqualified for poor sportsmanship and Wayzata and Eastview being denied their second- and third-place trophies.
"I felt really heartbroken," Faribault senior captain Abbie Meehl said. "That kind of hurt me just knowing that they're not with us and they don't have good sportsmanship."
The Minnesota State High School League had determined before the tournament that Faribault did not rip off its dance routine from an out-of-state team, and it sent out a letter notifying participants that Faribault would be allowed to compete.
Faribault's athletics director, Ken Hubert, said the league notified him of the allegations on Monday. He acknowledged that a couple of the dance moves were similar, but said they lasted just seconds in a four-minute dance and did not break the rules. He said similarities among dance routines are common.
"We won it fair and square," Faribault coach Lois Krinke said. "We were in first place after the preliminary round almost unanimously, and unanimously in the final round. We're excited, the girls are really excited. We're the top team in the state and if they didn't want their second- and third-place medals, I couldn't care less. We got the first-place medal."
The league issued a statement Sunday saying it would "further investigate" what took place at the awards ceremony.
"League staff and the Board of Directors will determine a course of action after that investigation is complete," the statement said.