ST. GEORGE — After an uncertain year, Dixie High’s Jetettes overcame their challenges and took the state title for their division’s drill team for the second year in a row Saturday.
The Jetettes were named 3A State Drill Team Champions after competing in the Utah High School Activities Association’s 2017 Drill State Finals at Utah Valley University in Orem.
The team relished their victory, riding to their school in an old-fashioned fire engine, singing their hearts out Saturday night. A large crowd of proud parents and enthusiastic students greeted them upon arrival.
See video in the media player top of this report.
The Jetettes took to the gymnasium where they offered thanks to their many supporters then sang along to Queen’s “We are the Champions.”
“It was very, very competitive, and we just happened to have the little bit of extra, and the judges noticed us,” Jetettes head coach Laurel Peterson said of the long-fought victory.
The team began practicing for this season in March 2016 after riding high on their previous championship.
Despite their win, the season began as anything but a sure-thing for another championship.
“We weren’t placing well, we were getting third to fourth,” Peterson said. “Then at region, we were going in as a third place team and we knew we were better than that.”
Placing in drill competitions is based on the subjective opinions of the judges, Peterson said, but the team’s confidence apparently came through in this weekend’s invitational.
“You just kind of have to keep a lead in and be confident in how good the girls are, and it paid off,” Peterson said.
“They worked hard, they wanted it so bad. They came and fought hard,” assistant coach Hailey Hammer said.
The girls were exuberant and emotional in their victory after eleven months of hard work and dedication to their sport.
“A lot of the hard work’s paid off, and I truly believe that the team that was working the hardest will get the reward in the end whether the judges announce it or we feel it inside,” team captain Rebecca Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez gave a resounding victory speech to her team mates and the gathered crowd, later reflecting:
“I remember how we started in March after spring break, and we started our quest, and there were people who did doubt that we’d make it here, and there were probably some of us that felt it, but I believe that the people who did believe were who brought us here, and having those positive affirmations is what brought us here.”
The girls and their coaches were full of grace for the support they receive from parents and fellow students.
“We have the best crowds and the best parents,” Peterson said. “My best assistant coaches ever,” crediting Hammer and her other assistant coach, Heidi Taggart.
“I think it’s a lot to do with all the support that we get,” Gutierrez said, “definitely from our coaches who have taught us so much and have pushed us to be the best that we can be.”
The girls have about a month to enjoy their victory before the next season begins anew.
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