Bonney Lake’s dance and drill team gathered for a group photo after winning a state title at the Yakima Valley SunDome. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Bonney Lake’s dance and drill team gathered for a group photo after winning a state title at the Yakima Valley SunDome. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Panther dance, drill team wins state; appears at national event

This is the third year the Pantherette’s have been state champions in the “show” competition.

The past couple of weeks have brought exciting times for the girls of Bonney Lake High’s dance and drill team.

First, they were crowned champions during statewide competition and then, less than two weeks later, were jetting off to Southern California for a national contest.

Of course, success is nothing new for the squad that performs under the watchful eye of fourth-year coach Lisa O’Brien. The Panther girls have been a force to be reckoned with during the past few state championships.

This year, competing at the Yakima Valley SunDome, the dance and drill team took first place in the “show” category and second in both “military” and “kick.” It marked the third year in a row the Panthers were Washington’s “show” champions. This year’s performance was to music from “Mary Poppins,” following previous winning efforts to “Pinocchio” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Each discipline has its defining characteristics, O’Brien explained. The “show” competition can use backdrops and props and involves the entire team; the “military” competition is “crisp and sharp,” she said, where “all the movements are strong.” The “kick” competition is more physically demanding, the coach said, requiring “a lot of strength, flexibility and stamina.”

O’Brien said the formula for success is easily explained: “It takes a lot of teamwork and they put in a lot of hours,” she said, highlighting the dedication necessary for top-notch performances. Girls on her squad practice four days a week at school and also practice routines at home, turning in video so their individual work can be evaluated. Before a school year begins, the team has spent a summer getting prepared. The season was capped last week with an appearance at a national competition in Southern California.

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