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South Valley Journal

Blossoming Riverton drill team returns with high hopes

Sep 04, 2022 11:20AM ● By Forrest Cole

By Forrest Cole | [email protected]

As students return to school from summer, which never seems long enough, their minds must be filled with a myriad of things. What will classes be like? Will I like my teachers? Will my friends be in my classes? However, for juniors, sophomores and freshmen of last year's Riverton Drill Team, one question is at the forefront of their minds: How do we win nationals again this year? 

National Champions

Contest of Champions: The Premier Dance Nationals, held in Florida each year, had been canceled since 2020 due to COVID-19, and then in 2021, “nationals, due to Covid spiking again, was canceled two days before we were scheduled to leave, so we couldn’t go to nationals. So that was a bummer, but we were excited to go this season,” coach Shawnee Larson said.

As March 2022 approached, the young women were filled with glee and trepidation. It had been years since they’d competed at this level, COVID-19 was still an issue and they just didn’t know if the competition would go on.

Before going to nationals, they needed to perform in regional and state competitions. Winning these is not required for entrance into nationals, but they provide opportunity to practice and winning any of them brings accolades to the team.

In 2022’s state competition, the team didn’t perform as well as they had hoped. “We made it past the quarterfinals into the semis. We were super close, but we weren’t quite there.”

Despite not winning state, they knew they would be at the Contest of Champions in less than a month, with an opportunity to compete against high schools from throughout the country.

The Riverton Drill Team competed in multiple categories at nationals, including dance, military and palm routines. The palm routine was student choregraphed.

They won a choreography award for their show (dance) routine and won first place overall in the same category.

“This was a big success for us,” Larson said.

Dancing Back from a National Championship

In all high school sports, coaches and teammates must worry about seniors leaving. Drill Team is no different.

“Six seniors graduated this year, but we’ve taken large numbers of younger ages so we could train them and have them with us for four years. This way we build up a better program and make it stronger every year,” Larson said.

Last year there were 25 girls, and each of them competed in the show routine. After they won nationals for the first time in 2022, a lot more girls auditioned for this year’s team. Now there are 32 girls in the program.

With preparation and recognition, the Riverton Drill Team is becoming a force in their sport.

Cannot Forget High School Duties

The Riverton Drill Team is not just a competitive team, but have a more classic role as well. They perform for students at assemblies, but they also keep the crowds entertained and hyped during half time at football games. They can also be found performing for other sports as well.

As the Drill Team gets ready to start performing at the first football games of the year, they will be thinking about the warm sun of March in Florida. They will be thinking about hoisting that trophy once more.