With an unusually large amount of awards for the trophy case, Huntsville High School’s Grenadier Guard has put together quite a year.

At the Miss Dance Drill Team Texas Competition at Oak Ridge High School, they were awarded the super sweepstakes plaque and choreography award for kick.

At the Quinlan Ford High School Competition in February, they won sweepstakes, best in kick, best in military, best precision for military, best technique for jazz, judges’ award for military, dance line gold (score of 95 or above from all judges on all routines) and grand champion.

One month later, at Denton High School, they were awarded sweepstakes, best in kick, best in jazz, best precision for jazz, judges award for kick, dance line gold and grand champion.

In addition to the team awards, Morgan Allyn, Ashlee Drake, Elizabeth Nesselrode, Lesley McCoy, Kassidy Bailey, Suezjon Hewitt, Tai’Shea Butler, Rani Roberson, Kelsey Sanders, Brandi Burkett and Maggie Zapatero also won numerous awards at the competitions for solo and duet performances

Although this year was incredibly successful for the team, Nesselrode, a GG lieutenant, said it has not always been this easy for the drill team.

“2002 was the last time we won a lot of awards at competition. That year, they were national high kick champions, but two years ago we didn’t do very well at all,” she said. “But this year, we brought home about 18 regional awards in three competitions and that was the most that I had ever heard of the GGs bringing home, so we were really excited about that.”

What changed this year, she said, that they had tryouts for a contest team, where the same group would perform the kick, jazz and military dances, allowing them to get used to working with the same group as a team.

“We had tryouts for a contest team, which meant these girls were going to be in all three dances in competition, so we had a smaller number of girls, which sometimes is better, because you can get more things done with a smaller group of girls,” Nesselrode said. “We also had a very, very hard-working team this year. All of these girls were very dedicated and spent many hours practicing and working hard to make sure that all of these dances worked really good.”

Success did not come easy for them, though. It required a lot of practice and hard work. The girls practiced after school from the time school ended until 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

With the competition year over, the group is now working on auditions, primarily for officer positions.

The dance officers are field lieutenants who work with the dances lead the team on the dance floor and put together many of the performance. To audition, the girls make a notebook, which consists of song ideas for kick, military and jazz performances, come up with spring show theme, and create ideas for costumes for each dance and three for the spring show.

They also have a performance area of the tryout, where they perform an officer jazz kick. They will also choreograph solo dance, which they will perform for team, as well as out-of-town judges, as well as choreograph eight eight-counts of a dance and teach it to the team.

The social officers are in charge of planning the events, like the banquets. While they have a similar audition process to the dance officers, there are a few differences. The potential social officers have to do the notebook, but with a much stronger emphasis on themes and creating party ideas. They also have to do jazz kick for the judges, but none of the choreography pieces.