The Delaware Hayes Winter Guard competed for the first time in four years earlier this month and took home second place.
The team’s coaches, Mackenzie Colgan and Alexis Graffice, competed on the team when they were in high school. They added the winter guard stopped competing because it didn’t have a consistent practice space.
“We’ve been really lucky this season,” Colgan said. “The facilities director has been great about getting us a space when we need it.”
The pair said the 10 members of the team practice in the cafeteria at Dempsey Middle School after school for three hours several times a week, and they added winter guard is different than what most people expect from color guard performances during the football season.
“It’s more dancey. It’s more intimate of a performance environment,” Graffice said. “There’s a theme. You have to tell a story.”
Graffice said every member of the guard has an important part to play in its show, “Underneath the Skin,” which was designed by Graffice and Colgan.
“Color guard/winter guard is a very interesting sport,” Graffice said. “Every member of the team has to be on point with their skill level and their performance level. We can’t just bench somebody whose having a bad week. It’s really like the ultimate team type of thing.”
During competitions, the winter guard is judge on equipment, visual analysis design, movement analysis and general effect. Colgan said the performances are about three and half to four minutes long.
Colgan said the team recently travelled to a guard competition at Franklin Heights High School, hosted by Cap City Percussion, and the team came away with second place in its class.
“It was really good for the girls,” Colgan said. “It was a really good confidence boost for them. They really earned it. They worked so hard every rehearsal.”
Graffice said she was proud of the team, and she added the show was designed to challenge the guard.
“We did it all by ourselves and that’s probably the most rewarding part, to see it,” Graffice said. “We were able to be advocates for the guard. I feel special and connected to it, because I’m an alum.”
The guard team’s captains, senior Rebekkah Costilo and junior Brittany Green, said they were pleased with their performance at the competition.
“It was really surprising, because we don’t have our entire show done,” Green said. “The emotion (in the show) is amazing. Everyone is so good at portraying happiness, but for this show, it’s a challenge to portray sadness and emotion.”
Green said she was a little nervous for the next competition in March, but she’s excited to continue to learn the show.
“We have a lot to do in the next month, but I know we can get it done,” Green said. “Everyone thinks it’s easy. It’s not just throwing stuff up in the air and catching it and hoping it doesn’t hit you. People underestimate it.”
Conversely, Costilo said the pressure from the upcoming competition makes her work harder.
“I thrive on the adrenaline of making things up as we go,” she said.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.