Duchesne celebrates region drill title
Oaklee Larsen has been a member of the Duchesne High School drill team for the past three years.
In that stretch, the junior has gradually seen the Talons make positive steps each season.
“There have been some ups and downs since I joined the team my freshman year,” Larsen said. “I’m super glad that I decided to be on the team. We have progressed a lot. It started off rough. It has been really good this year.”
Duchesne put everything together by winning the region title at North Sanpete Jan. 20.
“It felt really good to go out there and win it,” Larsen said. “We were surprised that we won it because it was so close.”
The last time Duchesne won a region title was five years ago.
“Winning the region title was a huge accomplishment for us,” Duchesne coach Kellee Grant said. “We are the smallest school that competes in drill team in the entire state. It was a victory for the small schools.”
North Summit placed second and Gunnison Valley was third.
“Both teams were ranked above us in the RPI going into region competition,” Grant said.
The Talons won the dance and show routines. Duchesne placed second in the military category.
Each competition is scored based on meeting certain criteria. There are typically five judges assessing every routine in their classification. Each judge is given a sheet of paper with four categories to score the routines based on: choreography, execution, appearance/showmanship, and difficulty.
“We knew we had the penalty in the military before we performed in the show. The girls had to give everything they had,” Grant said. “I was so proud of how they showed strength and fortitude after getting the devastating news. It’s really hard to come back after getting a penalty in drill team, especially if the competition is tight.”
Duchesne is scheduled to compete in the state semifinals at Utah Valley University in Orem Feb. 2. There are 11 teams in Class 2A. The top nine will advance to the finals Feb. 3.
“I think this gives a lot of confidence going into state,” Grant said. “However, this is a judged sport. It all depends on which teams the judges like that night.”
Grant said South Sevier and Kanab are the front-runners in the field.
“We just beat South Sevier in the dance category at Roy,” she added. “I feel like we have a shot. Whichever team wins at state will have to have three flawless dances.”
Duchesne is ranked No. 5 in the final Class 2A Rating Percentage Index standings that were released by the Utah High School Activities Association Jan. 24.
South Sevier (No. 1), Kanab (No. 2), Gunnison Valley (No. 3) and North Summit (No. 4) are ranked ahead of Duchesne.
“I’m happy with our ranking,” Grant said. “We have beaten teams that are ranked higher than us. “The competition in 2A is fierce. I’m happy that we are in the mix.”
Kylee Grant, Kristan Hatch and Larsen all made the all-region team. Grant, Hatch made the all-state team.
“For me, winning the region gives me a lot of confidence,” Larsen said. “I hope that everyone can take that confidence into state and not get too cocky.”
Teagan Ford won the team Hero award. Coach Grant said the award is for someone who has stood out on the team for the good throughout the year.
“Teagan is always thinking of others on the team,” Coach Grant said. “Whether it’s sending an uplifting text or running extra laps when someone is late to practice. She spreads her kindness everywhere she can. She puts in extra hours outside of practice and shows gratitude towards her coaches and teammates. She doesn’t let disappointment or setbacks stop her from achieving her best. We are very grateful for Teagan and her example.’”
Class 2A RPI standings
1. South Sevier; 2. Kanab; 3. Gunnison Valley; 4. North Summit; 5. Duchesne; 6. San Juan; 7. Enterprise; 8. Millard; 9. Beaver; 10. North Sevier.