Winter Guard swings for success

Brianna Mosinski, In-Depth Editor

The girls Guard Program is drifting off from their Color Guard season into the Winter Guard season.

  “Winter Guard is just the color guard on the floor in a gym. The season starts in November and ends in April. The show is set to a music choice of the staff’s choosing, and the staff will design the show and write all of the choreography,” Kelsey Arnony, coach, said. “Winter guard also opens up a lot of performances for the students. Color Guard is during the marching band season usually starting in May and goes to October. Color Guard is a performance and competitive activity, but they perform alongside the marching band on the football field.”

  With the slight change from Color Guard to Winter Guard, the team enters this season with anticipation.

  “Going into this season, I am excited and motivated. Winter Guard usually tends to be more intense than marching band because instead of focusing on an entire band, with Color Guard as a pretty visual, Winter Guard is only Color Guard,” Kambre Wendt, junior, said. “Winter Guard is also indoors so there is no wind to deal with. That being said, I am excited and motivated to improve my flag, dance, and rifle skills.”

  The team strives for excellence and works to improve technique.

  “My goals for this season is to work on my dance skill and flag technique. I aim to be more precise with the angles of my flag and body,” Audrey Korallus, junior, said. “To then perform proudly, work through, and never give up even when stressed.”

  Staying in control of the flag takes practice and lots of technique.

  “When releasing the flag in the air, you need to be able to use both your hands to push and release. When you push down on one side, you rotate your other hand and let the momentum bring the flag back down where it needs to be,” Sophia Strange, sophomore, said.

  Proper breathing helps the athletes remain calm when the flag is being thrown in the air.

  “We always teach to breathe, count your tosses, and trust your technique that you have learned,” Arnony said. “We tell them never to be timid when tossing; really just go for it.”

  Even during performance, every small detail matters.

  “The most challenging part about doing guard is constantly having the expectation to be better. The sport itself takes a lot of dedication and time and one has to be willing to put in that extra effort and push through to get even the little things right. Little things such as hand placement and counts are just as important as the skill and technique itself,” Strange said.

  Personal growth is a process of understanding and pushing someone to reach their highest potential.

  “Winter guard, for me so far, is about learning and growing and really just being able to improve my skills,” Andi DeGuzman, junior, said. “I haven’t really been able to experience a real winter guard season outside of auditions, but throughout the audition days, I’ve found it to be about improvement and growth and really just learning more skills for winter guard.”

  Goals are an important part to make the most out of the season and begin to see changes.

  “Some goals for JV this year are to really grow the program and the students involved in JV. We have several high school students in the JV program, some brand new to color guard and some who have done color guard before,” Arnony said. “For varsity, I want to see the students grow into a phenomenal competitive scholastic class program and see how much they are going to achieve this year.”

  When challenges arise, it depends on how the situation is to be handled and what is to be done to get back on track.

  “For me, it really only takes a step back from things, a little snack, and a drink of water before I continue,” DeGuzman said. “But when it starts becoming a consistent challenge, I tend to try and take a break or surround myself with friends before getting frustrated with myself again.”

  Coaching has a huge impact on athletes and how they perform.

  “I am very much a positive person, so I am very much a positive reinforcement kind of coach, making sure that I let the students know that they are doing a great job and to keep up the good work,” Arnony said.

  Overall, the athletes feel that the respect and community they form create great support and encouragement to perform at their best.

  “When we all put in the effort and dedication we create mutual respect. In turn, we quickly all become close friends and a tighter-knit community within our guard,” Strange said. “Even when we are out at competitions all the guards are friendly and supportive of each other no matter where we place or what class we compete in.”

  The first performance is on January 21 and their first competition is on January 29.