MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. — It's one of the oldest standing traditions at St. Thomas Academy. The Crack Drill Squad is celebrating its 87th year.
Starting in 1937, this brotherhood has been passing on the tradition of performing to the next generation of young men. Part of that tradition includes stomping, slapping and maneuvering around an 8.5 lbs gun.
The squad is constantly made up of 17 students, from sophomores to seniors, and it's completely student-led.
Two of this year's leaders are seniors, Luke Dobbs, a Veteran Junior Driller, and Teddy Knapp, a Commander.
To be able to do something like this takes strength and stamina, which is something these squad members train for on another team.
"For sure my sports have helped me with hand eye coordination and precision," said Dobbs, who is a wide receiver for the Cadets Football team.
Dobbs and Knapp, a defensive lineman, are on the heels of a successful, 10-3 season making it to the Prep Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium, where they came second in state
"It's definitely two different types of pressures. You're in the zone for both. You find your zone when you're performing," said Knapp.
Dobbs and Knapp aren't alone. All 17 members of the crack drill squad are student athletes.
"I think that really speaks on our squad, as they're hardworking guys that can balance a lot on their plate," said Dobbs.
A team built on tradition has also become that for the Knapp family.
"Both my brothers are alumni of the school and alumni of the Crack Drill Squad, so that's obviously something that's super close to me," said Knapp.
Dobbs was drawn to this squad to be part of something he's never had.
"Me, personally, I grew up with just sisters in my house. It's been nice to have these guys to call my brothers," said Dobbs.
Their next performance is this Wednesday, December 13, at the high school at 7 p.m. It is open to the public.
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