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Orem • With the rest of the field closing the gap on her Bountiful drill team, coach Jan Whittakek decided it was time to go big or go home.

In their character category performance Friday at the Class 4A/5A state championships in Orem, the Braves brought the house down when half the team came out on 3-foot stilts, while performing an elaborate routine in 8-foot-long flowing gowns, set to the tone of African-themed music.

Bountiful was the winner of all three categories — military, dance and character. Bountiful senior Natalie Barnes struggled to hold back her emotions after Bountiful was named 4A state champion.

"It's incredible to be on this team and see what we've been working at for nine months pay off," said Barnes.

Of the stilts idea, Whittakek said she'd wanted to do something of elevated status for a while and a trip to New York City this summer convinced her tall was the way to go.

"Everyone worked on the stilts for about three months," she said. "I'm just really proud of this team. … They are a hard-working bunch and were determined to keep the title."

Hillcrest finished second in every category.

Since drill was recognized as a sport in 2010, the 5A/4A ranks have known nothing but dominance by Bingham and Bountiful. Bountiful cruised, but Bingham had to hold its breath.

Bingham finished third and second in the military and dance categories, while Copper Hills claimed both categories. In the character division, Copper Hills finished fifth, while Bingham finished first to claim the overall 5A title.

"Every team out there is good and getting better, but the key for us tonight was consistency," said Miners coach Erin Richardson. —

Class 5A results

1. Bingham

2. Copper Hills

3. Syracuse

4. Hunter

5. Cottonwood —

Class 4A results

1. Bountiful

2. Hillcrest

3. Bonneville

4. Mountain Crest

5. Salem Hills