Region & State Champion Team, in hopes that I'll never forget! Smile, Sparkle & Shine...
Iron County Today
In 2007, the first year McCall Scott coached Cedar High School’s Mohey Tawa, the drill team placed last at the region competition and did not qualify to go on to state.
The girls who were freshmen that year have been part of a significant transformation. In 2008 they swept the region competition and placed fifth at the state contest, in 2009 they swept region and placed second in the state contest, and this year they swept region and state, coming home with the state title and first place in all three categories.
This year six seniors will graduate with an accomplishment they can always be proud of, and Scott will be moving on as well.
She said her experience coaching Mohey Tawa was very rewarding, and when she started she knew she wanted to stay at least four years to see what she could do with the team. Now, with the state title under their belts, she feels it is a good time for her to move on and pursue other things.
“It was a hard decision, and it was one that took a lot of thought, because I love it … but I have treated it like a full-time job,” she said.
Scott also coaches the Southern Utah University drill team, the Waukeenyans, and owns Gravity Dance Studio.
She walks away with no regrets, with the team on top, she said.
Though she didn’t know who the new coach would be as of press time, she said she was confident the team would continue to be successful. The girls she’s leaving behind know what it takes to win.
“I’m sure they will just continue to get better and better,” Scott said.
There were five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen on the team this year with the six seniors, and Scott said a team of 16 is a little small, but that was part of her strategy. It left fewer girls sitting out dances. The dancers had to try out for each routine, and all the girls were able to be in the military and kick routines. There were 12 in the dance routine.
When building the team Scott also intentionally kept the number of freshmen pretty small, which made for a more mature team. She said she found if dancers were cut their freshman year they usually tried out again for their sophomore year and were more ready.
Scott said the key to Mohey Tawa’s success was that it was treated like a sports team.
“I think we treated it like a sport instead of like a dance group or a dance class,” she said.
They focused on the competitive goal and did not get caught up in the drama that a group of teenage girls can often create. Scott had very strict rules on what they did and didn’t talk about inside and outside of practice, she said. Team issues stayed on the team and were resolved there.
She also had a rule that after a performance the girls and their parents were to let her be the coach. The parents’ job was just to compliment the girls and the girls shouldn’t tear themselves or the team down. If something needed to be addressed, she would address it, she said. This helped every performance to be a positive experience.
“If all they ever hear is negative than that’s all they’ll ever think,” she said.
The girls and their parents stuck to the rules and saw the payoff right away, she said.
Scott said in addition to claiming the state championship as a team, three seniors were recognized. Brittney Evans and Alexis Gonzalez made the academic all-state team, which means they were among the top 10 3A drill athletes in the state academically. A minimum 3.75 grade point average was required to apply.
Laurie Gregerson took second place in the state drilldown. At state, all the 3A drill team members were brought onto the floor and had to follow commands, military-style. Commands were given until all but three girls had been eliminated, Scott said.
At state, Mohey competed against 16 or 17 other teams. They took first in all three categories, including kick, which replaced prop/novelty at the state competition this year. Scott said last year there were rumors that would happen, so they competed with a kick routine at invitationals to help the girls get a feel for it and get feedback from judges.
Evans, team dance captain and Cedar High’s dance sterling scholar, said she was a little intimidated by the kick routine at first because she doesn’t feel like she’s very flexible, but she liked it. Prop was intimidating in a different way because nothing can be out of place and it’s more about “who can put on a better show,” which is more based on opinion. Though Mohey had done well in the past with the prop routine, they had also done well with kick and she felt good about the change.
“I think that a kick routine is a better evaluation of a dance team,” she said.
Scott said for her first two years coaching at CHS the team only focused on the routines they had to do at region and state, but the past two years she has been confident enough in the girls’ and they have branched out, competing in other categories at invitationals. This year they learned six or seven dances, including a hip-hop dance.
They also performed with the pep band this year, which hasn’t been done for about 25 years, but the school has a great pep band so it was a fun opportunity, she said.
Evans said her experience on Mohey was great, and getting the state championship this year was particularly rewarding. She said she went into the competition knowing they could do it, so she wasn’t surprised, but she was very pleased to be able to achieve what she and the other seniors had worked toward for four years.
“Our dreams came true,” she said. “I felt really accomplished.”
She said the team members have always had a close bond and been able to put the drama aside. Everyone on the team has been able to grow in one way or another, whether in their dance skills or as a person.
“Everyone can blossom on Mohey,” she said.
Evans credited their success to their hard work, the support of their parents and the school, and Scott, who’s been a great coach.
OREM - McCall Scott couldn't exactly say she knew four years ago - when taking the Cedar drill team gig - that she was eventually going to have a state championship-caliber team.
After all, it didn't even get qualify for the meet.
But look at Scott's squad now: for the first time in a quarter century, the school has a state title in the sport.
Cedar swept all three 3A events - military, dance and kick - at the drill team state championships at Utah Valley University.
"It all came together this year," Scott said of a group that consists of six seniors. "We're the Cinderella team now. We came all the way up."
Canyon View, behind 3A coach of the year Krysten Reynolds, finished right behind Cedar with a sweep of second place in the three events.
Reynolds credited the unity of her team for Canyon View's first time in school history that it placed in all three events, plus top-5 overall.
With four seniors, Reynolds said, "There was just a drive to keep getting better; to do it everyday."
Several St. George-area competitors made postseason honors. In 2A, Jamie Croteau (Kanab), Ashley King (Kanab) and Kira Robinson (Kanab) were academic all-state. In 3A, selections were Alexis Gonzalez (Cedar) and Brittney Evans (Cedar).
There were also six all-state selections:
In 2A, Tausha Hansen (Beaver), Jamie Croteau (Kanab), Brittani Heidenriech (Parowan). While 3A included Jordon Howard (Canyon View), Brittney Evans (Cedar) and Madison Barney (Hurricane).
Duchesne won the 1A title by sweeping all three events, while South Sevier took 2A with first place in 2-of-3.
Also, Kanab was third overall in 2A after placing third in military and dance, and fourth in kick.
But the eight-hour day at the UVU events center belonged to Cedar. The military title was announced first, then dance and kick in the 25-minute awards ceremony.
Cedar sounded just as honored and genuinely pleased and surprised as each title rang in.
"We didn't expect to get all three," Scott said with tears in her eyes. "But we're so glad we did. I think that's the best part about all of this - not only that we did it, but how we did it."