Dakota Spirit challenging cheerleaders despite being closed

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the spirit of a lot of people around the country and here in KELOLAND. Many businesses have had to shutdown because of COVID-19 including Dakota Spirit in Sioux Falls.

Dakota Spirit’s building may be closed but it’s staff and cheerleaders are staying connected thanks to social media and more.

“It’s really, really sad for us as coaches and as owners because we don’t get to do what we love every day which is seeing the kids come through those doors,” Cheerleading Coach and Director of the All Star Program Joanna Fritsch said.

Lincoln senior and Apollo team member Lauren Jaton says when the season ended so fast, it was stunning. Two competitions have been cancelled and Dakota Spirit won’t be going to Summit in June even though five of its teams qualified. It’s just too much of a financial commitment during uncertain times.

“It was pretty devastating to hear the news that I’ll never be competing again and I couldn’t take in all the glory in that last competition but I’ve got to keep moving forward,” Jaton said.

Instead, teams are chatting online and Dakota Spirit is putting together daily workout and kindness challenges.

“I organized my parents’ pantry for them. It was much needed,” Jaton said.

Families are also creating cheer routines from their own homes.

“Some of the most hilarious fun videos. So although there’s a lot of challenge in this. A lot of challenge brings opportunity,” Fritsch said.

Fritsch says coming together to pull through this is right in line with the team’s motto.

“It’s called ‘We’ over ‘Me.’ Right now we’re really holding onto that now more than ever. These kids are individually so disappointed. But we’re asking them put the community, put our nation’s health in front of your own desires to go to cheerleading practice,” Fritsch said.

Jaton gets it even though it’s not the ending she envisioned.

“I’d say you can’t really change the fact that it’s happening so you kind of have to roll with it and do what you can with what you have,” Jaton said.

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