Tumwater and Capital Capture State Titles at 2023 Dance and Drill WIAA Championships


Local high school teams from Capital, Olympia, North Thurston, Timberline, Tumwater and Yelm competed in the 1A/2A/3A/4A WIAA  Dance and Drill State Championships, at the Yakima Sun Dome, March 24-25, 2023 in Yakima, Washington. Tumwater and Capital High Schools both won State Titles, with each team winning two separate titles each in the Dance and Pom categories. Timberline High School took home a fourth place award in Hip Hop.

Tumwater Dance

Tumwater brought all 24 dancers from their team and competed in the 2A competition in the Hip Hop, Pom and Dance categories. The T-Birds consider themselves a sisterhood with strong bonds and tradition and even stronger determination and they wanted to make a statement. Tumwater scored a 291.9 for Dance capturing the 2A state title, which was also the highest score for Dance at the competition from 1A/2A/3A and 4A. They also won the 2A Pom competition (272) and took third place in Hip Hop.

Head Coach Kim Griffin knew the competition was going to be tough, from scores of various teams over the year, but was just excited that this year was a “normal” year of competition. “Our goal was to regain our titles in as many of our three genres as possible,” stated Griffin. “We took three routines and brought home two championships. Hip Hop captain Ashley Lynch was pivotal in devising workouts all year long to help us with our strength and stamina. I can’t be prouder.”

Olympia Dance

Olympia competed in the fierce 4A competition and earned 5th place in 4A Military, 10th place in 4A Hip Hop and 14th place 4A Pom. One huge highlight for the Pepperettes was that head coach Mariah Mao earned the 4A “Coach of the Year” award. Coach Mao was beyond thankful for the opportunity to coach and represent Olympia. “I am truly touched and honored to have been nominated for coach of the year, let alone earn the title,” Mao remarked. “The past 10 years of coaching have been some of my best and this was the cherry on top of an amazing season.”

Capital Dance

The Capital Cougarettes took 12 varsity dancers to state and captured two state titles. The team’s motto was “Live the Legacy ” and after capturing two titles for the first time in school history the Cougarettes continued their standard of excellence but landed a new level of excellence for Capital Dance. Competing in the 3A competition, Capital won the 3A Dance with a score of 275.8 and also won the 3A Pom (278.4).

Head coach Jaci Gruhn was proud of her team’s fight and incredible energy, grit and effort during the competition. “It was a long day and the largest 1/2/3A Championship in WIAA Dance History,” Gruhn remarked about the competition. “You have to stay in it for hours and It’s all mental at that point. We are so proud of the performances we gave. I had a great team led by seven incredible four-year seniors.  We always say, ‘Encouragement is a difference maker’. You can do anything when you know you have your people next to you and this year we did. We made history!”

Timberline Dance

Timberline placed fourth in 3A Hip Hop. This was the first time the Blazer Dance Team has placed at State. Coach Colette Hudson was thrilled with her team’s work and dedication on the year. “As their coach, I am beyond proud of all of the adversity they have faced and what they overcame and all the goals they conquered.” Hudson proclaimed. “We are trying to build a new foundation for Dance here at Timberline and a place for students to find community and excel in dance. This is a huge accomplishment in program history, as the Blazer Dance Team has never placed at the State dance competition until now.”

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