Young MHS Royal Pride Guard Finishes 2009 – 10 Season Strong
Young MHS Royal Pride Guard Finishes 2009 – 10 Season Strong
This has been a year of small successes for the MHS Royal Pride Guard, each building on the previous. After losing four members to graduation they picked up one new freshman member to regain competitive strength for the 2009-10 season. The Fall season provided the opportunity to work on fundamental skills as an auxiliary unit of the MHS Royal Pride Marching Band.
Enter the Winter Guard season where the Royal Pride Winter Guard choreographs and competes with their own routine. More fundamentals of dance and equipment and longer hours. Freshman newcomer Stephanie Herrera didn’t really know what to expect, “I just hoped we would be able to put on a good show.” Yet for others there was a new found determination to better themselves and be competitive. Sophomore Kaitlin Eagan was, “Looking for dramatic improvement in the Guard and herself.” She admitted, “I love the dance in Winter Guard but was just horrible at rifle last year, dropping it a lot.”
On January 30th the MHS Royal Pride Winter Guard traveled to Haltom City and placed 7th in the Regional AAA Division(RAAA). All six Guards in front of them were promoted up one bracket to Regional AA(RAA) while the Royal Pride Winter Guard remained in RAAA. For the non-guard inducted a promotion occurs when the judging cadre determines that the Guard should be moved to a more competitive bracket due to the excellence shown in performing skills during their program.
Returning home to “The Dome” the MHS Royal Pride Winter Guard worked harder, adding difficulty and polishing technique. Said Guard Director Jacobs-Holmes, “Guard can be very fun with a little practice. But to be rewarded and successful requires tremendous work not just determination.” She knew the girls wanted to get better with their skills. The real question was, “How hard are they willing to work together as a team.” The answer to that spoken thought was revealed 3 weeks later when MHS traveled across Custer Road to Frisco Centennial. Still competing in RAAA they received 67.4 points, up dramatically from the Haltom City effort of 56.10. They also celebrated a top their bracket taking 1st place and receiving a promotion to RAA. “Wow!”, remarked Egan. “Last year after placing so low in every competition I questioned continuing but determined that I would.” Obviously the other Guard members made the same determination. Guard Director Jacobs-Holmes has been quick to point out that Guard is really a complex journey of continual learning. You must learn skill upon skill. And there is always more to learn. “It takes time, patience and determination to build skills. I really wanted the girls to focus on where they started this year”(and build from there) , said Jacobs-Holmes. “Once we took 1st at Centennial and got bumped up to RAA I began to feel more confident. We began to believe!” (in ourselves) , commented Senior Captain Alicia Mistry.
With the February 26 promotion to RAA, MHS would now compete against 21 other guards, including 4 of the 6 guards promoted in front of them back in January at Haltom City. Only this time they would face them at NTCA State Championships 2 weeks down the road on March 13th.
Ten final hectic days of “0-dark-30” practices to tweak and polish their program found the Royal Pride Winter Guard at Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland for NTCA State Championships as a new member of the RAA Division. “I was so nervous” was the universal comment from the girls. Their program, “A Tribute to You” is a constant series of fluid dance movements featuring solo flag work throughout separated by unison team rifle work and dance in the middle of the program. Featured throughout the solos are digital screened silks with pictures of each Guard member and the person most influential in their lives. The program is choreographed to the 80s Ballad, “When I See You Smile” and has illicited an emotional sigh from the crowd at the end of every performance this year. Championships were no different. Only this time a few murmured, “Wows” and an “Absolutely beautiful” were detected above the gymnasium-wide sigh before a waterfall of applause cascaded from the bleachers, swept across the floor, engulfing the Guard, crescendoed off the far wall and returned as a deafening roar.
“Walking away from the performance, I was absolutely exhilarated!” , noted Captain Mistry. “We finished strong and that was great!”, noted Sophomore Brandi Macura. Added Mistry, “We threw it down, giving the performance everything we had, holding nothing back! I realized that the magnitude of the applause couldn’t be coming from just our 10 parents. It was a very proud moment to realize that a virtually unknown audience was cheering us so loudly and even gave us a standing ovation!” “I thought we’d done our best”, noted first year Guardie Stephanie Herrera. The only question remaining was how well did the judges believe the Guard performed.
The recently promoted, upstart MHS Royal Pride Winter Guard took the floor one last time at Retreat with the other 21 Guards. “Retreat” is a Guard Competition term referring to the awards ceremonies where all competitors return to the floor and final placings are announced from last to first. “Each time they called another place I thought that would be us”, noted Stephanie Herrera. For Guard member Brandi Macura, “When 7th place was announced and we still hadn’t been called I started freaking out!” “Once they called 6th and then 5th and it wasn’t us, Kaitlin and I started stressing big time” , recalled Kristal Mueller. “As they got to 4th Kristal was squeezing my hand so tight that it hurt” , said Kaitlin Egan. Fourth place? Not MHS. Loud squeals escape the MHS Guard moms in the bleachers. Bronze Medal – Redwater HS with 71.6 points. Mistry holds her breath, Egan loses hers and the rest of the Guard is ashen and visibly shaking. Silver Medal – MHS with 74.4 points. Gold Medalists – A+ Excalibur (Dallas) with 75.2 points. From Egan, “I was proud! This was a huge step up from last year.” Macura agreed, “We didn’t do well last year. The Silver is a huge leap forward for us this year.” “It was awesome. I tried not to cry when walking up to receive the medal, but when Ms. Jacobs(Jacobs-Holmes) put it around my neck I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer”, said Mueller. After 4 years dedicated to Guard, Senior Captain Alicia Mistry fittingly summed the experience when stating, “I can not describe the ’Royal’ pride that flowed through my veins as I led my team up to receive our Silver Medals. A thousand exciting emotions flooded my body. I wanted to abandon all sense of self-respect and simply jump up and down and hug everyone. All the hard work had paid off. What more could I ask for in my senior year?”
MHS Guard Director Amanda Jacob-Holmes began working her young Guard early and often knowing that she would need to help individuals mold themselves into a team through trust, patience and practice. However, in the end the greatest director can only take you so far. At some point the team has to take responsibility for determining their own success and do the hard work by learning the program and working with each other.
So why all the Hoopla about a Silver in RAA? The answer lies in the journey not the result.
Last November, 1 senior, 4 sophomores and 1 freshman walked across the threshold and stood on the gym floor in front of a new Guard Director for the first practice of the 2009-2010 season. They no longer exist. Now in the same place where individuals once stood only a team remains.
See you on the floor,
Kim and Cal Van Wagner
What MISD High School does your journey take you through? MHS, MBHS or MNHS? Both Boyd and North are competing this weekend in the NTCA State Championships for the Scholastic Division. The MHS Royal Pride Winter Guard wishes them both good luck. “Throw it down and rock the floor!”
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