Lincoln High celebrated another state title Saturday night, but it was in the oft-underappreciated activity of dance/drill.

The Cardinals won the Class 4A Large Division of the OSAA state championship for the third straight year. Set to graduate just nine seniors from a 45-member team, they'll be the favorite to win again next year.

'Four in a row is a little crazy to think about,' coach Sara Anderson says. 'But if we get the right group of girls again next year, anything is possible.'

Lincoln edged out Tigard for the title during its performance at Memorial Coliseum. Lake Oswego squeezed past Reynolds for the 4A Intermediate state title. Glencoe edged out Clackamas and Parkrose for the Show Division title.

Most teams begin training in August with daily doubles, like football teams, and practice through the state finals.

Allison Negus, who coaches the Franklin squad that won the city title in the Show Division, says her squad of 25 members practiced for four hours three nights a week and for five hours on Saturdays.

'That's every week through the season,' she says. 'It's a very committed sport.'

Teams train essentially for one performance at the state event of a four- to seven-minute routine. The Show Division allows props and backdrops, but the other divisions rely mainly on music.

'The idea is to try and tell a story that revolves around a theme through your routine,' Anderson says. 'It's mostly about dance these days. It's not so much about the drill part.'

Lincoln's performance had a rock 'n' roll theme and included music from such diverse artists as Twisted Sister and John Mellencamp.

Lincoln's team included senior Erinna McCarthy, who was selected as the school's Rose Festival ambassador last week.

The Cardinals have such a strong program, they have a junior varsity team, which a number of programs are developing around the state, Anderson says.

'Kids get involved because of the environment,' Anderson says. 'It's kind of like a sorority in that the girls really look out for each other. Everyone enjoys their time on the team.'

Negus says Franklin made a big jump in its competitive level this year, and she was happy finishing sixth in the Show Division.

'We won the city title and had a great performance at state, so we're happy with how the year went,' she says. 'Now it's time to go and recruit at the middle schools and get new members. Hopefully, our finish this year will boost our turnout.'

Franklin senior Zack Thornhill, the team's lone male member, auditioned and was selected for the All-State team.

At both Lincoln and Franklin, team members raised around $600 each to pay for things such as costumes and props.

'Dance/drill doesn't have a lot of practical applications in the -real world, unless you're going to work on a cruise ship, but it's a tremendous activity to be involved with,' Negus says. 'The girls who compete and go off to college come back and coach because they had such a good experience.'

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