Patriots to host state drill competition

December 8, 2008

By Rebecca Steele

The Liberty HIgh School Drill and Pom Team rehearses in preparation for hosting a statewide competition Dec. 13. Contributed

The Liberty High School Drill Team is preparing to host a statewide competition Dec. 13. High school drill teams from across the state have been invited by Liberty to compete in drill, pom and dance.

The host of a competition still competes for points. But as host, Liberty Drill Team is not placed against the other teams, according to the Washington State Drill and Dance Association.

Liberty Drill Team Captain Britney Weaver, of Renton, is in her final year at Liberty and has been part of the team for the last four years. This year is Weaver’s second year being captain. She said she is very excited to be involved with hosting the competition.“The competition is important for our team, because it helps us get our name out there and it means that other LHS students can come, because the competition is close,” she said.

“We have made all the signs and posters, invited many teams and have spent time making sure they can come,” she added.

First-year team coach Laura Gowler said she is also very excited about the competition.

“This will be the first time myself and all the girls in the team have been part of hosting a competition,” she said.

Gowler said the team’s members are working particularly hard to prepare their performance and she hopes people will come and support them.

“The girls have 10 hours of scheduled training sessions per week and they practice by themselves outside training hours,” she said. “The girls in LHS Drill Team are incredible athletes and they are very dedicated. Drill team is a 12-month commitment.”

However, Gowler said she feels that the girls don’t get the amount of support and respect they deserve, because drill team is not considered a school sport.

“Sometimes, we have difficulty finding a place to train, we have to do all of our own fund-raising and few people outside the girls’ families come along to watch them,” said Gowler.

Gowler said that drill team is a huge commitment for these girls physically, timewise and academically.

“Even though drill team is not considered to be a school sport, the girls are required to have a certain GPA and they have a strict set of rules they have to follow,” she said.

She also mentioned many people have a misunderstanding between cheerleading and drill team.

“Cheerleading girls are leading cheers and their main aim is to get the crowd going –whereas drill team is all about precision and making exact movements in time with the music,” said Gowler.

“We’re really hoping to get the word out about drill team and show people what these girls are really about,” Gowler said.

An active parent and strong supporter of LHS Drill Team is Caroline Bradford, the mother of 16- year-old LHS Drill Team member Emily Bradford. This is Emily’s third year with the team.

Bradford said she knew very little about drill team before her daughter joined the team. But now Bradford knows what drill team is all about and she feels it has been wonderful for her daughter.

“Drill Team has been a great experience for Emily in terms of being part of a team, being disciplined, motivated and learning the importance of goal setting,” said Bradford.

Rebecca Steele is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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