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Hillcrest High drill team ‘all in,’ to compete at nationals

Mar 07, 2018 11:40AM ● Published by Julie Slama

Hillcrest High School’s drill team, which swept its region competition, will compete at nationals this March in Florida. (Canyons School District)

Although Hillcrest High School’s football coach, Cazzie Brown, died in late August, he hasn’t been forgotten.

Throughout the school halls and at sporting events, he is remembered as the one who brought pride to the Husky dog pound with “one pack, one goal.” He is the one who inspired athletes and students alike, said Chelsea Divine, who coaches alongside Brenda Searle, Myranda Scherschligt, Enli Reyes and Annette Jones.

“Coach Brown inspired me and the school community,” she said. “We would joke about coaching, but he helped me become a better coach. He sent the message through our school to be committed.”

Taking that dedication to heart, Hillcrest drill team set their motto as “all in” and have started and ended every practice with that cheer in a huddle. They’ve also recognized a person each day who has brought their heart “all in.”

“I think he has helped us to better unite and be committed this season. We are more fierce and confident because we all are ‘all in,’” Divine said.

The team, affectionately called HD, swept every competition in its region, winning for the fourth straight year, and finished third overall at state in its first year in 6A. The Huskies also took top honors with junior Lindsey Wehrli winning the state drill down against about 350 competitors. The 6A coach of the year was Brenda Searle. 

HD plans to compete nationally in the Contest of Champions March 3 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. 

“This team is awesome. They are very talented and tough competitors who rise to the occasion. This year, we’ve performed for the passion and love of it and as a result, we haven’t been stressed about it,” Divine said.

Their season started after they traveled to New York together last year to take classes at the Broadway Dance Company, including a Rockettes master class. 

“It was a good way for them to enjoy what they love to do – dance,” Divine said.

After learning routines and rehearsing in the summer, as well as performing halftimes at football games, HD began its competition season. In early December, they competed at the Mustang Classic in Herriman. The team took first place in sweepstakes, after winning military, dance, lyrical and pom routines.

At the Utah Valley University Classic in mid-December, the Huskies got points docked with a penalty.

“It was a good wake up call, something we could fix for our future routines. Competing there also gave us a chance to compete on the floor where state was and get used to being in a big arena,” she said.

At the Rocky Mountain Invitational in January in Draper, the team took second overall. They won the military, pom and lyrical routines, took second in dance and third in character.

Slated for February, the Miss Drill Utah Pageant features junior Kyra Revill, who is the current teen Miss Drill Utah, and her sister, freshman Peyton Revill, who represented Hillcrest.

At region, HD captains and seniors Annie Bunker, Sydney Brey and Rylee Bergmann were named to the all-region drill team.

The all-region academic team, with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.75 out of a 4.0, include HD members Annie Bunker, Bella Jones, Brooklyn Stromberg, Brynley Kershaw, Emily Rimmasch, Kyra Revill, Leah Cisneros, Lexi Green, Lizzie Moss, Michelle Sluga, Nicole Aragundi, Olivia Ojala, Olivia Rodgerson, Paris Freebairn, Peyton Revill, Rachael Roper and Shaylee Kershaw.

In amongst all the practices and performances, the drill team also donated about 500 toys, diapers and kids’ clothes to a local women’s resource center in December.

“We’re learning if we’re ‘all in’ then, we’re all in for our community as well. At state, we (had) a ‘sea of green’ supporting us as well,” Dvine said. “It’s ‘all in’ all the time.”

This season will end at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 15 with a year-end showcase in the main gym, 7350 S. 900 East. Tickets will be $5 and funds will be used toward the drill program. 

Try-outs for next season will be held at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 10 and Thursday, April 12. A pre-audition clinic, for girls in good standing in academics and citizenship, will be held at 4 p.m., Thursday, March 22 and will cost $20. A pre-audition dancer-parent meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., March 22 at the school. 

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