The Lassen High School drill team spent three days conditioning, rehearsing and learning from the United Spirit Association coaches. Here, Gracie Heimbigner, back left, Eden League, Megan Hitchcock, Paige Henry, Jaycee Johnson, Julia Bias, Molly Bettencourt, Alice Li, Shelby Anderson, Taylor Greer, Ashlyn Clark, Kelsey Chedwick, USA instructor Hank, front left, Hailey Gregor, Sophia Meraz, Allison Harr, Jade Wilson Young, Maleah Wolcott, Kylie Kersh, Tasia Allen, and USA instructor Tessa pose for a photo after their performance of three new routines. Photo by Ashley Grogan

Grizzliettes kick-start upcoming season with USA camp

The Lassen High School drill team endured a three-day United Spirit Association camp from Monday, June 19 to Wednesday, June 21 in order to improve their skills prior to the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Though the camp pushed the Grizzliettes physically and mentally, it was a great experience overall for each member.

USA has been holding spirit training camps for 66 years to help school squads develop various skills, a stronger concept of being a team and an overall improved sense of school spirit.

The USA camp is an annual tradition for the Lassen High Grizzliettes, as it allows the team to bond for the first time since the previous school year ended.

Eden League dances alongside the 2017-2018 Lassen High drill team. Photo by Ashley Grogan

With each passing year, the drill team changes, and the camp allows the girls to adjust to the change.

Lassen High has participated in the USA summer training camps for more than 35 years.

Regarding the annual USA camp, drill team coach Shelley Bennett said, “It is a wonderful first experience for our team, as we are getting to know each other, challenging ourselves and learning quality choreography and technique.”

Of the 29 Grizziettes that will be performing throughout the upcoming school year, 20 were able to attend camp; 11 of which were first-year members.

This year’s camp theme was Strong as One. The theme is very fitting for the 2017-2018 Grizzliettes as 19 of the 29 girls on the squad are first-year members and the team is already working toward unity and solidarity.

During the camp, the Grizzliettes learned three new routines. While the routines were intricate, the girls were able to master each and perform them all by the end of camp on June 21.

Of the three routines, the girls earned blue ribbons for two. Blue ribbons are awarded for flawless team routine execution.

The newly learned dances can be seen on the football field and on the basketball court during the upcoming season.

The wider formations, ripples and kicks seen in two of the dances will be a treat for football fans. The hip-hop dance is reserved for assemblies and basketball games where fans can more easily see the intricate moves and sassy attitude.

In addition to choreography, the Grizzliettes practiced technique during the USA camp. Between the many routine practices, the Lassen High drill team focused on turns, stretching and drill downs.

The USA instructors were also able to provide expert advice on dance tricks.

Tricks such as headstands are sometimes small additions to a routine, but they truly add the wow factor to each performance.

While the camp was intense and tiring, the girls never wavered in their love for the sport.

The Grizzliettes perform one of their three new routines learned during camp. Photo by Ashley Grogan

As a team, the Lassen High Grizzliettes earned an excellence plaque from the United Spirit Association.

During a final drill down, the girls were able to compete individually for ribbons and medals. The first-place finisher for the drill down was Kylie Kersch. Second place was given to Hailey Gregor, and Eden League earned third place.

Regarding camp spirit and performance overall, League earned the Hardest Working Award and was given a plaque. Tasia Allen earned the Most Improved Award and also received a plaque.

The USA coaches then awarded Jade Wilson Young the Unity Award for her hard work reaching out to all teammates to ensure everyone was included. Wilson Young received a spirit baton for her efforts.

Finally, the girls were also evaluated for the Super Sensational ribbons.

Super Sensational Dance Drill was awarded to Gregor and Alice Li.

Kersch and League were both awarded with Super Sensational Kick.

Sophia Meraz and Allison Harr were the two winners of the Super Sensational Hip-Hop Award.

The Grizzliettes are ready to start the year strong and have clearly given their all to ensure the team will be strong as one.