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Flu Forces Randolph Dance Team to Sit Out from Competition

Posted at: 01/11/2013 9:30 PM
Updated at: 01/11/2013 10:16 PM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

The flu is now widespread in 47 states across the country, but there is some good news. Experts say there are signs the flu may have already peaked in some states.

In Minnesota, at least 27 people have died this season and more than 11 hundred have been hospitalized. Now the flu is forcing a Twin Cities dance team to sit out of competition this weekend in Rochester.

Four members of the Randolph Rockettes Varsity Dance team have come down with some type of illness in recent weeks.

"We have two out, we had one girl out earlier this week but she came back yesterday, and then we had another girl out around Christmas that had Mono," said Randolph Rockettes Varsity Coach Melissa Augustine.

At least one was diagnosed with influenza. By Friday afternoon, the team of eight was still down two members. 

"Once we found out that one of the girls was diagnosed with influenza, that's when we went crazy with the hand sanitizer, the Kleenex. We had two practices where there was no touching," Augustine said.

"It's kind of all or nothing. If we're not ready then we're not ready, and we can't do it," said co-captain Anna Weidner.

With an unpredictable number of dancers and a competition right around the corner, Augustine and her colleagues decided to pull the varsity team out this weekend. It was a tough call considering trophies are on the line.

"There were seven teams and four trophies so there was a good chance but, the next time I guess," Weidner said.

To prepare, the team still practices as if every dancer was there. They share just as much hand sanitizer as they do encouragement.

"Eat healthy, get a lot of sleep, and just send out texts like make sure you go to bed on time," Weidner said.

"Stay home, get better. Don't push it. The more you push it and push yourself to try and go to practice and go to school, it's just going to take longer to get better and then you will probably cause other people to get sick as well," Augustine said.

Minnesota Hockey also put out this advice to its members, asking them not to share water bottles, clean work out gear and keep gloves on during traditional handshakes.