MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Faribault is celebrating a state championship in the high-kick performance from Saturday’s State Dance Tournament, but it’s not without some controversy.

The Emeralds were accused of plagiarizing their state championship dance from a team in Utah. Other teams in Saturday’s finals, including Eastview, Lakeville South, Eden Prairie, Chaska and Wayzata, stood together in protest of Faribault’s performance during the medal ceremony.

The second and third place teams were not in their correct position and were not awarded medals. Faribault was in its proper place and got its first-place trophy. The other programs at the tournament didn’t feel the Emeralds deserved the title after being accused of stealing another team’s routine.

Utah coach Shannon Mortensen and Faribault coach Lois Krinke addressed the situation Monday afternoon on WCCO Radio with Chad Hartman.

Mortensen said Faribault “hit the trifecta” with its routine, saying their music, choreography and character were all the same as her team’s routine.

“It’s very common for a team to take a dance move and put a twist on it. It’s happened for years, but this is the first time I’ve seen this,” Mortensen said. “I agree it wasn’t 100 percent of the choreography and it wasn’t consecutive counts.”

When asked about the protest, Mortensen said the other teams were put in a tough spot.

“I don’t think they were trying to be bad sports. I think they were trying to be heard,” Mortensen said.

When asked if Faribault should’ve been disqualified, Mortensen said, “I’m really glad I’m not the one who had to make that decision. I think you have to respect the MSHSL decision and if they were cleared, they were cleared. But I don’t think you can expect the other communities to be happy about that.”

Krinke defended her program and said their routine was far different from Mortensen’s team.

“Did we get inspiration from her team? Of course we did,” Krinke said. “If you take both dances in their entirety and put them side by side in their entirety, you’ll see that they are very different. Their dance was not a high-kick dance at all. We had 64 or 65 kicks.”

Krinke also said it’s very common for dancers and teams to attend camps or clinics in the offseason, get ideas and inspiration from those events and put them into their routines.

“It’s done all over in many different forms. If the MSHSL thinks it’s a problem, then you have to put a set of rules in place,” Krinke said.

When asked if Krinke would change anything about what they did to win a state title, she defended her program.

“I totally stand behind what we’ve done. Our music was not the same. I had a professional producer put our tape together from eight different sources. The words are the same, and the costumes are somewhat similar. Did we use the concept? Yes. Was it identical? No,” Krinke said.

Krinke said what unfolded during the awards ceremony was unfortunate. She said many of her dancers are younger, it was their first time on a state stage and a lot of them didn’t know what was going on.

Krinke also said her program experiences bullying from other teams away from the competition floor.