(Yakima, WA) The 2023 WIAA State Dance and Drill Championships began on Friday with the 3A/2A/1A competitions. There are six categories with 48 schools competing over the day long event. Below are the results of each category. The number of trophies per event were dependent on the number of teams competing.

There were 5 teams who defended their championships in several really tight events. The Othello Huskies came out with a flawless performance in 2A Hip Hop and held off several top performances. There were only 2 places in this category and the Huskies were Champions while Selah stepped up to take 2nd.

In the 3A/2A/1A Kick category Bonney Lake repeated as Champs but had more teams to battle this year as last year that was the only trophy. This year a 2nd place was awarded and Royal stepped up to take that place.

Speaking of Royal, last year the Knights won the 2A/1A Military Title and they did it again. Adding to the deja vu, Royal beat Shelton last year for the top spot and did it again this year as the Highclimbers took home the 2nd place trophy.

In the 3A Pom last year there were 4 places and this year 5. 4th place Hazen jumped to 2nd this year, Bonney Lake was 3rd both last year and this year while Lake Washington dropped from 2nd to 5th. Mercer Island stepped up to grab their 1st trophy since 2015 taking 4th place. But taking the top spot was the Capital Cougars defending their Title.

Hermiston also defended their Championship in the Show category, much more on that below.

In the Dance competition, last year there was a combined 3A/2A category but this year there were just enough for 2A to have their own and with just the Championship available it was the Tumwater T-Birds taking the top honor winning their 1st State title since 2019. Tumwater won this event in 2018 and had been 2nd the past 2 competitions.

In the 3A dance, last year Hermiston won it with Tumwater 2nd and Capital 3rd. The Cougars jumped up to pass the Bulldogs taking their 2nd Championship of the day while Hermiston settled for 2nd. A pair of newcomers jumped up to take home some hardware with Walla Walla placing 3rd and Kentlake 4th.

In 3A Hip Hop defending Champs Gig Harbor competed in their only event of the day and came out with a super strong effort with many observers believing the Tides had done more than enough to retain their title. However, Hermiston stunned Gig Harbor and after not placing last year jumped up to win it all. Gig Harbor was 2nd and then again another pair of newcomers to the trophy round with Lakes finishing 3rd and Timberline taking 4th.

Bonney Lake walked away with a pair of 1st place trophies adding 3A Military to their collection after defending their Kick Championship. Lake Washington was the defending champ and took home 3rd place with Interlake in 4th after last year’s 3rd place finish. Coming in 2nd were the Liberty Patriots with a great late performance in one of the more contentious categories.

Tumwater also doubled up their 1st place haul while Selah took home two 2nd place trophies as the Vikings were nosed out of defending their 2A/1A Pom championship.

The Show category had 3 teams competing and were interwoven into the final 5 events. Hermiston was the 2-time defending champion and were ready to defend that title. Othello scored their 2nd trophy of the night with the 3rd place award.

Mountain View began the competition with a deep and touching performance focused on the recent spat of disastrous forest fires. The performance began with the devastation and ended with mother earth reviving herself with basic but realistic props of burned trees. Backed by classical dramatic music it was a tremendous performance.

The 2nd show participant was highline who took on a different subject of the “Highline Retirement Home”. The props were simple and to the point of a brick building but the program was a funny sketch on life in the retirement home. Our favorite part was in the middle of the upbeat and chaotic soundtrack you could hear the words…”I’ve fallen and can’t get up”. A brilliant addition to the sound track. Overall a simplistic approach to the show category but perfect as well. It brought smiles and fun and Highline did a magnificent job of pulling together a big production with limited materials.

As good as both of those performances were they were no match for what the defending Champion Hermiston Bulldogs brought to the floor. A massive set was the basis for a performance based on the Salem Witch Trials. Hermiston took no chances of letting go of the State Championship in this category and they clearly have a huge commitment from not only Head Coach Susan Stephens and her staff but the Athletic Director, Administration and most of all the kids and their parents.

The 1st thing that sticks out is the precision of all the volunteers with the team in laying out the tarp and placing all the huge prop pieces that are also easy to move and maneuver clearly thanks to someone with great carpentry and engineering skills.

Then there’s the performance and taking on such a dark subject through their interpretive dance and movements backed with perfect classical, booming dramatic music. The story was told showing several townspeople going about their day when things turned dark and 3 individuals were marked as witches. They clearly stood out as the townspeople wore a tan or light colored basic costume and the 3 witches were in all black.

The simplistic costumes was genius as it was not about individual personalities but appeared to be focused on herd mentality. The regular people simply trying to blend in and avoid being selected as a “witch”. The simple black costumes for the witches made them stick out much like a scarlet letter.

The program began to reach it’s climax as the music got louder and louder reaching crescendo level when a 20-foot or higher wall painted in brick with “Salem 1692” painted on it was pushed forward hitting the floor revealing the 3 witches that were rounded up in stocks with a massive fire burning behind them.

The huge crowd in the SunDome exploded in cheers and applause and left no doubt who would walk away with the top prize. The Hermiston Bulldogs got their 1st taste of winning this event in 2019 then again last year and now 3 in row (Due to the pandemic there was no event in 2020 and 2021,) with Friday night’s victory which may have been their best yet and certainly sets the bar exceptionally high for others to make a run at the Bulldogs reign.

The day long event was then wrapped up with the Drill down competition, a large “Simon Says” event with all the competitors while the WIAA administrators finish tabulating the final scores and get all the awards ready for presentation. Then the lights go out and the parade of athletes with all the color and vigor of a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans but of course rated G. Loud music, spot lights dancing off the roof of the dome, and each competitor and most of the audience from kids to Grandparents waving or wearing anything that blinks and is flashy.

The lights came back on and it was time to award the trophies and give one last cheer to wrap up the 3A/2A/1A State Dance and Drill for 2023 ending one of the most unique, fun and great events that occurs each year. The teams packed up and headed out while the rest of us said, hey let’s do it again with the 4A competition on Saturday.

Categories, Winners and Championship Videos:

State Coach of the Year
Kate Moore, Lake Washington

State Administrator of the Year
Rick O’Leary, Lake Washington


2A Dance
State Champion: Tumwater T-Birds

T-Birds Championship Performance

3A Dance
State Champion: Capital Cougars
2nd: Hermiston
3rd: Walla Walla
4th: Kentlake

Cougars Championship Performance

3A/2A/1A Kick
State Champion: Bonney Lake Panthers
2nd: Royal

Panthers Championship Performance

2A/1A Pom
State Champion: Tumwater T-Birds
2nd: Selah
3rd: Othello

T-Birds Championship Performance

3A Pom
State Champion: Capital Cougars
2nd: Bonney Lake
3rd: Hazen
4th: Mercer Island
5th: Lake Washington

Cougars Championship Performance

2A Hip Hop
State Champion: Othello Huskies
2nd: Selah

Huskies Championship Performance

3A Hip Hop
State Champion: Hermiston Bulldogs
2nd: Gig Harbor
3rd: Lakes
4th: Timberline

Bulldogs Championship Performance

2A/1a Military
State Champion: Royal Knights
2nd: Shelton

Knights Championship Performance

3A Military
State Champion: Bonney Lake Panthers
2nd: Liberty
3rd: Lake Washington

Panthers Championship Performance

3A Show
State Champion: Hermiston Bulldogs

Bulldogs Championship Performance

Drill Down
Champion: Seanna Qin, Interlake HS
2nd: Jasmine Moua, Meadowdale HS
3rd: Nidhi Munugeti, Intgerlake HS

Drill Down Final 3


Photo Gallery (Photos by Andy Knapp of the WIAA)



By paulb

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