Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press


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A Hop, Skip, and a Kick to the Future

Someone is balancing on their head. Others like her stand as sentries on the gymnasium floor, awaiting the cue. As they had practiced, the music starts. A girl is being lifted into the air, there are flips, and a synchronized kick line concludes the beautiful performance. Uproarious applause fills the room as the judges nod, clearly impressed. By the end of the night, Liberty’s Drill team had earned a ticket to the state competition.

As the end of the school year draws closer, big competitions are taking place. Alongside this, many clubs and sports are beginning to shift to their leadership positions for the upcoming year, and Drill has more work than the rest.

With nearly half of the team being seniors–including only one underclassman on the captain lineup–one would imagine that there would be strain on the team’s unity.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Drill’s recent performances have been nothing short of spectacular. Their kick performance earned them first place at districts, and they’ll be at the Yakima Sundome for that competition to perform their kick and military routine on March 23.

Until then, they continue to practice and improve on their routines.

“We’re working on lots of little tweaks to make our routine cleaner and more synchronized,” said coach Jennifer Poulson. 

Time spent on little tweaks is time well spent for the Drill team because state is the pinnacle of their season’s efforts. Their season ends here, win or lose, so no effort is going unspent. They are still working on producing an outstanding routine for this final competition.

“We get feedback from judges at the competitions we’ve been at so we have been trying to listen to that,” said Poulson. “We’re going to edit our routine with that.”

They must look through old performances and the results to decide how to approach state. The routine is in their hands, and it’s still being sharpened as the competition grows closer.

Alongside coach Poulson, a lot of this work is done by the team’s strong leadership that consists mostly of seniors. Thus comes the fear: how will Drill be affected by the loss of so many of its members and leaders?

“Leaders on the team are going to be younger than they were before because there’s only so many juniors,” said senior captain Mariela Gutierrez. 

The current seniors were part of the largest boom in Drill members in recent years, which occurred after the return from COVID.

Once those seniors leave, the captains don’t expect the same amount of growth they saw after COVID, but that doesn’t mean the team needs to be worried about any strain on the future leadership.

“It’d be a smaller group of people to manage, so it should also be easier in that aspect,” said Gutierrez. 

The inevitably smaller team will also encourage an even more tight-knit community among the members. While the current team is organized well, it’s obviously odd to have such a massive upperclassman presence.

“I mean, there’s always gonna be that freshman-senior dynamic, but I feel like this year we’ve done a good job integrating,” said senior captain Nichole Zamora.

This positive sentiment was consistent across the team.

“I think the freshmen have gotten along really great with the seniors,” said Jennifer Poulson.

So while it’s definitely out of the ordinary for a team, they aren’t worried about any divide between the grades as they head towards state. The better their team synergy, the more they can challenge themselves and push their limits.

Once state concludes, Drill will begin focusing on the team’s future. Tryouts for the team will begin in late April, and a large number of spots will be open. This could spell a new era for Liberty’s Drill team.

“We are definitely going to be either a smaller team or a team full of a lot of new people. Either way, it is going to be a lot different from last year,” said Poulson.

With such a different team, there’s potential for new talent to make itself known and new leaders to emerge and continue from those before them.

Regardless of team numbers, the future of Drill is bright. The current captains have faith that their successors will do a great job maintaining the team’s streak of accomplishments.

“Sure, most of our team are seniors, ” said Zamora. “But I think we have a good legacy going on.”

About the Contributor
Matthew Nendick
Matthew Nendick, Senior Writer
Matthew Nendick is a senior at Liberty High School and a senior writer for the Patriot Press. He’s the treasurer of the HOSA club, and he spends his free time listening to foreign music and reading comedic novels.