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Duchesne drill team takes all at 1A championships

SHARE Duchesne drill team takes all at 1A championships

OREM — There were times it didn't seem worth it.

Temperatures weren't just below freezing, they were below zero. With a 6-month-old baby she had to either find a sitter or take her along, but Kelle Grant knew she was involved with something special.

"It was very rewarding," said the first-year coach who guided Duchesne's drill team to its fourth straight 1A title. "It was awesome. It was a good feeling, because we worked really, really hard. Sometimes you think, 'Is this really worth it?' but it definitely was."

And not just because of the championship. Grant said the reward comes is seeing the student-athletes reach their potential and learn lessons that will help them long after they've stopped performing.

"I think it's definitely worth it for these girls," she said. "It teaches them discipline, to stick with something once you've started, and it helps you with things you'll need the rest of your life, like being on time and working with other people."

Grant took over the program built by Julie Wilkerson, who had to retire last year due to health problems. "It was really well organized," Grant said. "She had a really good program in place."

So with school and community support, Grant took over and watched as her team, made up of 13 athletes, won every category and the overall title. The 1A drill competition is different from the other four classifications in that the teams range from four or five members to more than 20. Some smaller schools, like Tabiona, are showing that size doesn't always mean a stronger squad.

Tabiona competes with just five athletes and coach Tonya Stewart said while it can be intimidating at times, it is always rewarding.

"We have to stuff practice in anywhere we can," she said noting several girls play volleyball, and two others are cheerleaders. The high school only has 41 students, and she said recently they seem to have fewer girls.

"This group has just loved to dance," she said. "When we get to state, the girls do panic a little because we look so teeny," she said. "But it teaches them so many great things. They have to be really dedicated and work hard, maybe even harder, because there are so few dancers that any mistake is sure to be noticed."

Last year the team took third in Novelty, while this year they took fifth in Military, fifth in Prop and fifth overall.

"It is a lot of fun to have so much success," Stewart said. "It gives these girls who wouldn't participate in something else the chance to compete."

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com