It's been a two year, uphill battle. These girls have worked really hard and they deserve this. I've just told them to enjoy the day and not to put so much emphasis on winning. —Clearfield head coach Tracy Crimin
Watch the video replay of the military competition here.
OREM — Kenzie Firth wasn't sure what her coaches had in mind when they suggested their "character" drill performance be about the homeless.
"Usually character dances are flashy, showy and upbeat," said the 17-year-old Bonneville senior. "We didn't really know what to expect."
And then her coaches asked them to do more than memorize dance steps. Coaches asked the girls to volunteer in the Ogden valley where they live and suddenly the message began to make more sense. On Friday, the girls hoped to send a message when they performed their routine to "Prayer of the Children."
Working with the poor and homeless changed the way the girls viewed other people, but also how they saw their own lives. She said people she used to overlook now garner her attention and her empathy.
"I think about what it would be like to lose everything, to have nothing, and it's a whole different feeling," Firth said.
Head coach Lindsey Judkins and her assistants Lexi Kirkbride and Brittany Ryan said they wanted the girls to be inspired and reflective when they danced the routine.
"We thought it would be good for the girls to get to know something other than dance," said Judkins.
Added Ryan, "I think it's changed them."
Judkins agreed, saying the experienced humbled them, especially one in which they were asked to tell each other stories of working with the community.
Firth said the experienced helped her wake up and "realize how other people" suffer.
"Obviously, we take things for granted," she said. "I say thank you for everything now. There are people out there among you who don't have anything, so don't take things for granted. You could lose it."
Sophomore Maddy Samuels said she hoped the audience would relate and connect with their message.
"We hope to bring it all to life," she said.
Added Judkins, "Obviously we hope to win, but we hope more for it to have an impact."
Bonneville ended up winning third in character and overall in the 4A competition of the state drill competition at UVU's UCCU Center Friday.
Bingham won their third-straight 5A title with a second place in dance, a third place in military and a first place in character. Copper Hills was second overall, while Syracuse was third, Hunter was fourth and Cottonwood finished fifth overall.
In military, Copper Hills was first, Syracuse second, Bingham was third, Hunter was fourth and Brighton was fifth. In dance, Copper Hills was first, Bingham was second, Syracuse was third, Hunter was fourth and Jordan was fifth. In character, Bingham was first, Syracuse was second, Cottonwood was third, Hunter was fourth and Copper Hills was fifth.
In 4A, Bountiful also repeated in 4A, and just like the Braves did last year, they swept every category. Hillcrest earned second place with second-place finishes in every category.
Bonneville was third, Mountain Crest was fourth and Salem Hills earned fifth place in the overall. In military, Logan was third, Salem Hills was fourth and Bonneville was fifth. In character, Bonneville was third, Maple Mountain fourth and Clearfield was fifth.
It was the first trip to the state tournament for Clearfield in five years, and coaches were thrilled with the team's effort.
"It's been a two year, uphill battle," said head coach Tracy Crimin. "These girls have worked really hard and they deserve this," she said. "I've just told them to enjoy the day and not to put so much emphasis on winning."
She acknowledged that Drill is the ultimate team sport because the dancers don't just have to learn the moves, they have to perform them in sync with each other.
"That's the hardest thing to get them to dance how we teach them and not the way they want to," Crimin said. "This is like a tournament of champions for us."