The Roar

New Year, New League

After a successful 2017-18 season, winter guard is moving up a division for the first time in school history

Last season, the winter guard placed third at the regional Atlantic Indoor Association championships at Mount Vernon High School for the first time since it was created. All of their coaches, especially Carlina Haden, were excited when the team placed at championships because it allows them to move up to a higher divison.

“I was really hoping that we would [win], but I actually didn’t want to get myself too excited. So when it actually happened, I felt like I was going to cry. Taylor [Gentry] and I were hugging each other and then we jumped up and went to actually put the medals on [them] and I felt so proud when I did that,” said Haden.  “When I got to put those medals over top of [their] necks, I just felt like all of our hard work as a group meant something, that it paid off.”

Along with placing at championships, the guard team also moved up a division from Regional A to Scholastic A3. This means that they will be performing with other schools that were moved up, including Washington-Lee, Robinson Secondary Gold, Ocean Lakes, and Enloe High Schools. One of the teams captains, Jessica Michael, who has been on the team for three seasons, found out that they moved up a division at a celebratory dinner for their achievements at championships

“I found [out that we moved up] when I was at IHOP speaking to Michelle who is our coach, but she was on her phone and she was like, ‘Oh I think we got bumped up a division,’ and my heart stopped because getting bumped up a division is scary,” said Michael. “It’s scary because all of these guards in the upper division have been working with bigger guards and more resources so when you get bumped up, it’s a big adjustment.”

The other captain, senior Morgan Erdley, has been on the team for six seasons. She is one of the three leadership members, made up of two captains and an equipment manager. The leaderships is an important role for keeping the team in check, and for recruiting new members.

“If we could have the entire school join winter guard, we should have the entire school join winter guard. [We’re looking for] people who [might] not necessarily play an instrument or have danced before, but somebody who is willing to be out of their comfort zone and create a bond with people that’s like lifelong,” said Erdley.

However, winter guard is not all fun and games. The leadership demand a lot of work from the team, rehearsing for three hours twice a week, with a competition every once in a while.

“People should know that guard is not easy for sure, and they should know that guard is not lame for sure, despite what many people might think or say about it,” said Michael.

Coach Haden says she demands focus and hard work from the team and from herself. Haden works with two other coaches to write the show and is looking to take more risks this year.

“I plan on [using] more props and a potential backdrop and things like that to try to create elevated effects, but also trying to integrate more movement into the performance,” said Haden.  “In regional A, they don’t care as much how everything is choreographed with movement, you can sit and spin a rifle for a little bit. In A3, you can’t do that as much, so it’s going to be a very big risk where we start to try and throw and elevated set of work at [them] and see how that goes.”

Those interested in winter guard are invited to clinics on Oct.  29 and 30, and auditions on Nov. 1 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Attendees will learn how to do basic moves, along with a short routine to perform in front of the coaches.

“I like the family and how close we are and the fact that it’s the perfect combination of physical activity [and] arts. It allows me to workout and keep up my strength, but I get to be creative in ways that I wouldn’t be able to if I joined like lacrosse or cross country,” said Erdley.

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