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The City Journals

Bingham High Minerettes win seventh straight national drill title

Apr 10, 2018 04:03PM ● By Julie Slama

The Bingham Minerettes, here in their character costumes, won their seventh straight national drill title. (Jamyn Miller/Bingham High)

There had to be a little bit of magic. 

For seven years straight, Bingham High’s Minerettes have captured the national drill team title.

“Our girls were on fire,” said coach Jamyn Miller about the March 3 Contest of Champions National Competition at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. “They worked hard, showed up and competed well.”

It wasn’t just Disney magic that worked for them as they were competing at Walt Disney World. It was magic in their routine — literally.

The Minerettes, as well as 88 other teams from across the country, performed four routines — military, hip hop, dance or jazz and character.

“In our character dance, our girls are magicians who actually do magic tricks throughout their routine,” Miller said. “It’s filled of tricks and technical dancing, so it’s a real huge crowd pleaser. Even those who don’t know dance appreciate and enjoy this routine.” Miller added that they had to ship three large boxes that are used to make dancers disappear during the routine.

It was such a favorite that the judges invited the Minerettes to showcase the dance before the awards ceremony.

“Both at nationals and at state, we got a standing ovation,” Miller said. “It’s an awesome feeling to see an arena standing for you. It’s something these girls won’t forget.” 

Miller said she was trying to think of something original when the idea came to her. With the help of four parents — Rob and Tiffinie McAffe, Alicia Cospher and Craig Hurd — they researched and developed the routine filled with magic tricks to become reality.

“It’s one of my top five favorite routines of all time,” Miller said. “We played off it for one of our themes this year — Minerette Magic. We looked at all the magical experiences within our team and in believing in each other and themselves. As a coach, when I see them believing in each other, that’s the most rewarding.”

She said 30 of the 31 girls competed at nationals in the character dance. The lone dancer had suffered a foot injury but was able to gain back her endurance and technique to return to perform in the categories of military and dance, the latter which Miller says is their most brilliant.

 “It’s a jazz style, and it’s just beautiful; it brought tears to my eyes,” Miller said. “We took first at state in dance (category), as our technique is unmatched. We push it in our program, and our standards are set higher every year.”

With new dancers entering the program with years of dance behind them, Miller said it elevates the program level and challenges even returning dancers to be able to make the team or particular category.

“Our routines are getting harder and harder, and the girls have to work to master and become confident in those skills. Competition can be scary and overwhelming,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure since our margin of error is so small.” 

The girls also carry at least a 3.0 grade-point average and have good citizenship. When auditioning, they have to have teacher recommendations as well as be judged on their dance routine.

Miller said that it isn’t all pressure. While serving the community, the girls have fun. Together, they volunteered for the Burrito Project, where they made and delivered burritos to those living on the streets.

“It’s a great experience for them, as for any teen, to step outside of themselves and help others,” Miller said. “It’s humbling.”

The Minerettes also hosted the sixth annual Astra Waller 5K run in September. Astra was a former Minerette in 2011 who died from cystic fibrosis. The $800 raised from the run was earmarked to help others with the disease.

Miller said the team met their costume designer’s friend who has cystic fibrosis and shared with them about living with the disease and her treatments. 

“They realize how lucky they are to be blessed and healthy,” Miller said. “It’s another great experience for them to walk in another’s shoes.” 

The Minerettes participated in three competitions earlier in the season and set their goals to the theme: “Vae Victis — Woe to the Conquered.” 

“It really motivated them all season, especially in our military routine,” Miller said.

At the Utah Valley University Invitational, they placed second. They won the Premier Invitational and the Rocky Mountain Dance Invitational for 6A. 

In January, they were crowned region champions. At state, they finished second.

“Our team used it as a motivator to show what they could do and to look at why they do drill and push through to perform at nationals,” Miller said.

For Miller, the national win, her seventh in seven years, was bittersweet.

“It’s my last year of coaching; I’m stepping down,” Miller said, citing she wants to give more time to her family. “It’s heartbreaking to leave the program. But anything I can do to assist them, I will. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls.”

Miller is hoping the Minerettes will win their eighth straight national title next year — with a little bit of magic.