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Sandy Journal

Alta’s drill team has a great season, focusing on each other and their strength together

Mar 28, 2017 09:09AM ● By Billy Swartzfager

A team photo of the 2016–-17 Alta drill team. (Kesha Prince/Alta Drill Coach)

By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
This year’s drill team at Alta High School had a motto that guided their performances in practices, events and competitions. The team could be heard screaming all together, “One chance, one dream, one team, family” prior to taking the floor. The motto helps the girls focus on the fact that they are a team and are focusing on improvement.
The team also set a goal for themselves at the beginning of the year. They wanted to focus on getting better and performing better as the weeks and competitions progressed.
“We have the team goal to get better from one competition to the next, focusing solely on the future and not dwelling on the past,” said Kesha Prince, the head coach at Alta for the past two years.
This year’s squad is led by many young ladies who serve the team in officer positions. Kristen Larsen is the team’s captain. The dance captains are Kaylee Hixenbaugh-Steenson and Kallie Young. The secretaries are Cora Brendlinger and Gerolynn Hargrove. Abby Heyborne and Melanie McQuinn serve as the team’s historians and Julia Svendsen is this year’s costume chair.
During practice, the officers warm the rest of the team up for the day. Once warm-ups are done, the girls practice their routines, cleaning them up where needed and learning new ones. The focus of learning the routines is to be able to perform them during football and basketball season as well as, most importantly, competition season. Coach Prince does all she can to keep the practices fun and positive.
“These girls spend more time in the halls of Alta High School than they do at home most days. Drill is a tiring sport and the last thing I want them to do is dread going to drill,” said the coach.
This year, the team participated in three invitational competitions. They went to the Wasatch Invitational at Wasatch High School, the Excalibur Classic at Copper Hills High School and the Rocky Mountain Invitational at Corner Canyon High School. The squad also competed in the region competition, where they placed third and at the semi-state finals.
The team also travelled to sunny California this winter to take classes with professionals at Edge Performing Arts Studio and Disney Performing Arts. The team loved the trip and the opportunity to learn and come together as a group.
On top of practice and performing at events and competitions, many of the girls on the squad spend their time serving others and taking advantage of extracurricular activities. A lot of the girls participate in school- and church-based clubs and groups. Some girls on the team are a part of Alta’s art club, DECA and FBLA. Larsen and Olivia Bell work with those with special needs through their church. Hixenbaugh-Steenson is a member of the Link Crew, a program set up through Alta High School to help incoming freshman feel more welcome and at home when they arrive. She is also a part of Hope Squad, whose mission it is to build a safe community for struggling teens, targeting specifically suicide prevention. Hargove was invited to participate in a summer program called the National Student Leadership Conference on Medicine and Healthcare. It is a program where students gain hands-on medical experience through Harvard Medical School. Only a small number of students are invited to attend every year.
“I am very proud that this team not only had a goal of being focused on their team but they are also willing to go above and beyond to serve their community, each other, and take advantage of extracurricular opportunities available to them,” Prince said.
The coach is already gearing up for next season. Tryouts for 2017–18 will be held at Alta High School on April 22.