BY Deasha Bent
The Sacred Heart Winter Guard competed this past week in Dayton, Ohio, at the Winter Guard International World Championships.
The guard program is split between fall and winter seasons. The fall Color Guard performs at halftime at football games and does exhibitions for local high school competitions. The Winter Guard also competes in the local circuit, Musical Arts Conference (MAC), and the international circuit, Winter Guard International (WGI).
“Winter Guard is guard is a competitive indoor sport known as the sport of the arts,” said junior guard captain Amber Luis, a three-year veteran of the team. “It incorporates dance, visual and general effects, and excellence with spinning choreography of flags, sabres, and rifles.”
The 22-member team practices three days a week, totaling over 14 hours of preparation. The group has come together during those practice hours and focuses on various aspects of the sport. Since 2003, they have been competing all across the country, showcasing their skills. Junior Emma Schwartz has been a part of eight competitions this season.
“To prepare for worlds, I practice my show a lot of times in my head. Winter Guard is a very mental activity, so I like to remind myself that I am capable of doing well,” said Schwartz.
It is because the university offers the program that some of the members, like Schwartz, considered Sacred Heart as an option for college in the first place.
“I had heard about Winter Guard before joining. It’s one of the reasons I chose Sacred Heart University. I joined Winter Guard because my high school didn’t have Winter Guard; we just had Color Guard. I always wanted to be in a Winter Guard that competes and goes to Dayton,” said Schwartz.
While championships bring out a competitive attitude, it is also fun for the club to get involved and compete like they did in 2018.
“Worlds last year was a lot of fun. It was our first time in a new division, which was hard, competitively – but still a great time,” said Schwartz.
Winter Guard requires little experience to join, as it is a transition from the marching band in the fall semester, where you begin to learn the skills. The club is welcoming to all and it is open to any questions that pertain to joining and what it is like to be a member of the team.
“Being a member means to be a part of a very close team and friendship. We’ve fully bonded over this activity that is very unique to any other sport. The activity itself takes a great amount of individual practice to be proficient, and in essence to be a member you need a high awareness of time management,” said Luis.