Redmond-based Eastside Precision Drill Team to compete at Seattle All City this weekend

The Redmond-based Eastside Precision Drill Team will perform for the second time in the Seattle All City Drill Team competition this Saturday at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Although they practice in Redmond, members also hail from Sammamish, Bellevue and other Eastside cities. Girls in grades K-12, from anywhere in the area, are welcome to join.

Members of the Eastside Precision Drill Team practice on the playground at Redmond Elementary School for this weekend's Seattle All City Drill Team competition in Edmonds. The team is recruiting more girls from grades K-12. For information

The Redmond-based Eastside Precision Drill Team will perform for the second time in the Seattle All City Drill Team competition this Saturday at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Although they practice in Redmond, members also hail from Sammamish, Bellevue and other Eastside cities. Girls in grades K-12, from anywhere in the area, are welcome to join.

Drill Mistress Heather Larson-Paul described Eastside Precision Drill Team as a “light athletic” activity which emphasizes rhythm and coordination of arm and leg movements as the girls march in formation.

“We are semi-military style,” said Larson-Paul. “We have longer uniforms which are more conservative, hair has to be up, members have to wear hats and gloves. It’s kind of like ROTC, kind of like dance team without music.”

To view a video of the Eastside Precision Drill Team at the 2009 Seattle All City Drill Team competition, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7-9Xh3vzFQ

Larson-Paul explained that the group was formed in 2007 when there were no comparable drill teams in the Redmond area. She and Eastside Precision Drill Team advisor Jennifer Wilkins grew up competing on Seattle drill teams and wanted to offer the same type of experience to a new generation of girls.

“Some of the Seattle teams have been around since 1950 or 1960,” said Wilkins.

Larson-Paul added, “There is a lot of tradition. We are a newer team but we have a lot of fun and have come a long way. What it takes most is determination. Our captain, Kendall Wiggins, has been on the team since it started. We have 16 girls — we’re an A team (girls of any age) and would like to have another group, a B team (13 and younger) so they can compete on a more even level.”

Eastside Precision Drill Team members also march in many regional parades, including Redmond Derby Days, Fall City Days, Kla Ha Ya Days (Snohomish), Snoqualmie Railroad Days, the Seattle Seafair Torchlight Parade and more. Members are encouraged but not required to attend every parade.

And although the team strives to excel, unlike most cheerleading or dance teams, there are no tryouts for Eastside Precision Drill Team. Any interested girl can participate.

Scholarships are available for those who can’t afford the $15 per month fee — and uniforms are provided at no cost, on a loaned basis. The girls practice one or two days a week, from about 90 minutes to two hours at a time, a modest commitment compared to most sports.

All of these are deciding factors for many parents who worry about expenses or time pressures, but still want their daughters to be involved in physical fitness, said Larson-Paul.

Parents or students with questions about Eastside Precision Drill Team can contact Heather Larson-Paul at info@eastsidedrillteam.com or (425) 647-4831 or read more about the benefits of membership at www.eastsidedrillteam.com.

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