By: Jessica Richardson
For some students, winter is the downbeat of the school year. For some, though, it is the most intense season. One group whose work is ramping up is winter guard.
The winter guard teams practice 3-5 days a week for 2-8 hours.
“We start training in late November [in order] to compete throughout February and March,” senior Allison Hunt said.
Winter Guard is a way for color guard to have their own competitions without a band. Winter Guard is a indoor color guard sport derived from military ceremonies that uses their own music. Winter Guard is divided into two guards, JV and World. JV Winter Guard is not as intense as World Guard.
Mikaelyn Tharpe transitioned from JV guard to World Guard this season.
“It was very hard. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” sophomore Mikaelyn Tharpe said. “We went from doing basics to being just on flag, to during fall guard I spun rifle and sabre. I spent very long hours getting ready for this winter season.”
Tharpe has worked hard almost every day. She fractured her hand practicing with her rifle, but she is content to start practicing again and get better by the first competition.
“It is a great feeling to be in guard but it is very time consuming and harder than it looks,” Tharpe says.
The JV guard is made up mostly of middle-schoolers and some high-schoolers. Both the JV and World Guard use different styles of dancing that is just for color guard.
“We use tarp and spin inside and compete in a gym,” sophomore Sierra Heavrin said. “Instead of using a band we dance and spin as a team to music.”
Tarp covers the floor and that’s what they do everything on. Spinning is doing different dances with a rifle, sabre or flag. When they performed on Friday nights with band during halftime of the football games, they only used spinning. During Winter Guard they use both tarp and spinning. During competitions using these two styles of dancing makes World Guard more difficult.
“World Guard is really intense,” senior Hope Cullers said.
They have already started performing for Winter Guard and they will continue to perform at seven different competitions throughout the season, including one this Saturday at Greenfield Central.
“Performing and being a part of something great is what I like about guard,” Heavrin said. “I also like going to big competitions like WGI and meeting a lot of new people from other guards.”
WGI or Winter Guard International, is a visual performing arts organization that hosts regional and national competitions for color guard and indoor percussion ensembles. It’s a big competition and people come from all over the world to compete. There are three contests: prelims, semi finals and finals.
“You want to make it through all three contests because it means you’re one of the 15 best guards in the world,” Heavrin said. “Aimachi came last year and they’re from Japan.”
WGI is held at WGI headquarters in Dayton, Ohio. WGI is the last competition of the year for Winter Guard.
“The Dayton trip can be exhausting, but it’s so much fun,” Cullers said. “Hopefully we will make it to WGI finals.”
Many guard girls say they have definitely raised this season and they say that their show is way more detailed than it was ever been before.
“There’s a lot of interesting tricks we have never done before,” Hunt said.
As winter drags on for some, members of the winter guard are adding hours and intensity to fill the promise of a show that raises the bar.