ST. GEORGE — The Snow Canyon High School Eshelles captured the Region 9 drill team championship Monday evening in St. George.

Snow Canyon Eshelles and coaches pose with Region 9 drill championship trophy, St. George, Utah, Jan. 22, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Snow Canyon took first in both dance and show categories and second in military, while runner-up Desert Hills placed first in military and second in both dance and show. Third-place Dixie took third in all three categories. 

The drill teams from Cedar and Crimson Cliffs high schools also competed at the event, which attracted a crowd of several hundred fans to Utah Tech University’s Burns Arena.

Snow Canyon’s crowd-pleasing show routine was an energetic Medusa-themed number, with the performers wearing snakelike costumes and makeup.

Snow Canyon head coach Lainee Frei said the routine has been a favorite among fans this season.

“The girls love performing hip-hop and you can tell,” Frei told St. George News on Tuesday. “They really get into the character and had an unbelievable amount of energy last night.”

The other four teams’ show routines were also dazzlingly impressive, with the Desert Hills Tempest Line dancers dressed like Dorothy and the Scarecrow from “The Wizard of Oz,” Crimson Cliffs wearing firefighter- and police-themed outfits, Dixie’s Jetettes sporting boxing gym attire and Cedar’s Mohey Tawa invoking a modern update on the fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.”

The evening program started with the five schools each performing their military routines, followed by dance and then show.

During the breaks, young dancers from various local studios took the floor to perform intermediary numbers, as did the dance teams from Southern Utah University and Utah Tech University, along with the cheer teams from Dixie High and Snow Canyon High.

Cedar High’s Mohey Tawa perform their dance routine during Region 9 drill team competition, St. George, Utah, Jan. 22, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Once all of the competition dances had finished, a “drill down” competition was held, with Cedar’s Kaylee Slaughter taking first place.

Various individual awards were then presented, including Academic All-Region and All-State honors and “Team Hero” certificates. The coaches for each school were also recognized and presented with bouquets of flowers.

Next came the announcement of the results of the competition, with Snow Canyon’s team members and coaches reacting to their victory with shouts of excitement.

“It’s an honor to have won the region trophy among so many talented and amazing teams,” Frei said. “Every girl that took the floor put in an incredible amount of time and effort. It was an awesome night. I am so proud of our team and the coaches who lead them. They are resilient, strong young women who I feel grateful to surround myself with.” 

Frei also noted that it marked Snow Canyon’s first region drill title since 2007. 

“It’s been a while, that’s why it was so exciting for our team, along with the students, parents and alumni,” Frei said.

The final RPI rankings of the season for 4A drill were released by UHSAA on Jan. 24, 2024 | Graphic courtesy of Utah High School Activities Association, St. George News

Wednesday morning, the Utah High School Activities Association released its final drill team RPI rankings for the season. Led by No. 4 Snow Canyon, all five participating Region 9 schools finished among the top 12 teams in the 4A classification, thereby qualifying for the state semifinals next week in Orem.

Also from Region 9, Snow Canyon finished fifth in the RPI rankings, while Cedar will be seeded eighth, Dixie ninth and Crimson Cliffs 12th. 

The schedule for the state 4A semifinals on Jan. 31 will feature 16 teams grouped into four pods of four teams each. The top two teams from each pod will advance to compete in the finals the next day, Feb. 1, plus one wild card, for a total of nine teams in next Thursday’s finals. The tournament will be staged at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Events Center. To see the complete semifinals schedule, click here.

Region 9 drill team competition overall results

Snow Canyon 
Desert Hills 
Crimson Cliffs

All-Region Team

Cedar: Halle Barnes, Kassi Duncan, Lexi Stubbs.Crimson Cliffs: Kayli Gover, Aubrey Hoopes, Summer Eardley. Desert Hills: Aspen Robinson, Brynlee Hartshorn, Lucy Dixon. Dixie: Kallie Northrop, Caprice Sampson, Sofie Hicks. Snow Canyon: Bizzy Roberts, Mckaye Haws, Peyton Fairchild.

Academic All-Region Team

Cedar: Halle Barnes, Kassi Duncan, Kayla Walser. Crimson Cliffs: Summer Eardley, Ava Everitt, Kayli Gover, Aubrey Hoopes. Desert Hills: Alessia Kirchhausen, Halle Smith, Brynlee Hartshorn, Lucy Dixon, Pyper Randall, Hallie O’Brien, Emma Fifie, Hannah Mair, Kambree Maxfield, Aspen Robinson. Dixie: Kallie Northrop, Sadie Pitcher. Snow Canyon: Isabella Sarria, Aspynne Tyler, Mckaye Haws, Torrey Jackson.

All-State Team

Cedar: Jenna Davies
Desert Hills: Hallie O’Brien, Pyper Randall.
Snow Canyon: Isabella Sarria, Aspynne Tyler, Makayla Mathews.

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