Winning With Flying Colors

Winter Guard Wins First Place at Competition

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Photo Courtesy of Casey Kunze

Containing their excitement, color guard poses for the camera after winning first place. "It's exhilarating," senior Chloe Nettles said. "It's not scary because I know my technique and when we nail our trick tosses and just knock it out of the park, the roars from supportive guards behind us and the audience in front of us push me harder."

Lacie Perry, Reporter

All eyes are on the flags being rippled musically through the air, bright colors being reflected off of the poles from the sun. Synchronized moves come from each performer who engulfs themselves in their dancing motions, relating to the music which is booming from the speakers. 

Varsity winter guard, a competition unit for color guard, performed and won first place with their winter piece on Jan. 25 at Westwood High School. According to varsity senior captain Katy Neu, the redemption from the ill prepared season last year was an amazing boost for the team. 

“[This year] our show ‘Go Back’ is about adults looking back on how simple life was when they were in high school,” Neu said. “The song talks about how you are going to miss these years when you’re an adult and you have a lot of responsibilities. Winning this season felt amazing, especially after not being very good or prepared last year.” 

The interactions with each of her teammates that Neu experiences are what she says helps her become excited about her performance, being around her friends is what keeps her thrilled and makes her do her best. 

“My favorite part of the show is the beginning when we [start] to act and get into character,” Neu said. “It’s a moment to interact with my teammates and hype each other up, right before we kill it on the floor.” 

Winter guard, unlike marching guard, is focused more on the dancing performance and routines that they present with their flags. It is based solely on just the team and is not paired with the band in any way like marching guard is.

“Winter guard is a completely different environment from Marching Band,” senior Chloe Nettles said. “We perform our show at competition circuits centered around [Color] Guard. Winter comp[etitions] are crazy because you can watch guards from other classes, like Open and World Class, and the trick tosses they do make it impossible not to lose your voice from cheering.”

This year the performers were more harmonized and energetic with their routine than they were last year. According to Neu it was exhilarating and one of the best performances she had been a part of. 

“It felt like we were more in tune with each other,” Neu said. “We fed off of each other’s energy. The feeling is so hard to explain. It feels like the rush you get when you get up off of the floor, it’s so much emotion because you forget exactly what you did right before and it takes a minute to come back to reality.” 

Not only did the varsity team perform better this year, but they were also under new directory. Learning new choreography everyday since the end of football season, director Casey Kunze made sure his team was prepared for the season ahead. 

“I [can] see a lot of growth in the student’s engagement as well as their confidence in what they’re doing,” Kunze said. “To better prepare for the Winter Guard season, I made sure the members were learning skills that would be done in their production so they could practice and be successful from the minute they learned the choreography.” 

As a director, Kunze also enjoys helping his team grow and learn to focus on themselves alone as performers. 

“Winter guard is all about the [performers],” Kunze said. “They can focus on just guard to grow as performers and learn a lot of new tricks and skills. It’s a time where we are at our climax and is a time where our program is going to be the best it will be for the school year.”