By Claire Webster
Rifles fly through the air as flags are twirling in the hands of the panting girls who are determined to win. While the rifles fall gracefully back into the hands of their owners, the flags continue to fly throughout the air.
Their feet hit the tarp as they drop their rifles and flags and grab the other props to complete the ensemble. The team looks to one another for encouragement, because it’s now or never.
Winter guard is one of the marching arts sports available to the students here at Bellbrook High School. This sport follows Color Guard, which occurs in the fall alongside marching band. The winter guard season begins before Thanksgiving break and continues to early April.
“Color guard is also with the band, where the guard makes up an insignificant portion of the score. During winter guard, the guard is the entire score because it’s just the guard performing alone, without band,” sophomore Claire Battelle said. Battelle has been in both the color and winter guard for four seasons.
To be successful in this sport you have to have endurance, rhythm, and stamina. You also have to know how to dance well.
Another important skill that is important in winter guard is learning to accept criticism from others and to make corrections. Paying attention and listening to the directors is also important.
There are also a lot of very competitive matches that come with this sport.
“Bellbrook competes with color guard groups from all over the world. Our program is highly competitive and last year, we scored fourth in our class at World Guard International (WGI),” sophomore Brielle Richardson said. Richardson has been in guard for seven years.
“There are a ton of amazing groups out there, and I would like to say we are one of the amazing groups, and therefore competition is fierce,” Battelle said. “Also in guard there are classes based on the skill level of the group, which lines up competition more and makes it even harder to win.”
With hard competitions comes many practices. The winter guard practices four or five times per week to improve their skills. These practices can occur in both gyms at the high school, and the team practices for three hours at a time.
This year’s winter guard is practicing now to prepare for the eleven competitions coming up.
“Anyone can learn. Part of the reason guard is such a great activity is that we all have different strengths, whether it’s dance and movement or spinning a flag or weapon,” Richardson said. “We have a successful show when everyone contributes their best effort and skills.”