Through tough times

BVH places first in the San Marcos West Coast Winterguard Championship


Provided by BVH Winterguard

Winterguard holds a banner honoring their first place victory for their performance titled “The Waiting Game.” The group sits with their sister schools after awards were announced at the SMWC Winterguard Championship.

Nicole Macgaffey, Features Editor

The singer on the music tracks hums the final note as the performers strike their final pose. The audience then erupts with cheer for Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) Winterguard championship performance titled “The Waiting Game”. On April 3, at San Marcos High (SMH), Winterguard received first place during the San Marcos West Coast Winterguard Championship.  

“When you’re out there, from the beginning, you can feel the energy of the whole team and think ‘okay, this is going to be a good run’. The audience was really responsive. There was a lot of cheering and a lot of family members and friends out there, so that encouraged us to do better. It was definitely one of our best [performances],” senior and Winterguard Caption Michelle Armenta said. 

For the past six years, Armenta has been an active member of Color Guard and worked with BVH’s color guard team, noting the rewarding experience it was to place as high as Winterguard did this season after all her years of work. 

“It felt great to finally place in the top three after six years. I wasn’t really sure what to expect or how we were going to do. I’m really proud of us because the season was rough a couple times but we really pulled through,” Armenta said.

I honestly got pretty emotional at the end because it was our first time at championships and my first high school experience with color guard.”

— Sophomore Jesse Fernandez

This year is senior Carter Gailband’s second year in Winterguard. He described his experience this season as a positive one and appreciates the aspects of art Color Guard has to offer. It is what called him to join in the first place; as well as the “cool” appeal of being able to toss equipment like rifles and sabers around.

“It was a really great season. We definitely had our moment where we were stagnant but overall we improved a lot. It was really awesome to be able to go to the competition, place and even win at our last competition. It definitely isn’t the reason we do it, but it does make it more enjoyable,” Gailband said. 

Sophomore Jesse Fernandez mentioned that her championship experience this year has been insightful for what to expect during a typical Winterguard season, as she did not get to experience her first season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“I honestly got pretty emotional at the end because it was our first time at championships and my first high school experience with color guard. It gives me more perspective on how it is and lets me understand ‘oh, this is what we’ll do next year and my run was pretty good,’” Fernnadez said. 

During the championship, Winterguard did their warm up as per usual before their competition run, but Gailband described that from there, every moment after turned into a blur due to fully focusing on the performance. He felt nervous before the performance but noted that we collectively “performed our hearts out and absolutely did the best we could.” Once the award ceremony started, all the guards from different schools stood together on the floor in a line formation. 

“We were listening as they named the places starting from last to first and every time they didn’t say our name we [would] clench up a little bit and get a little excited. They said seventh place, sixth, fifth, fourth, third, then they said second and it wasn’t us. We were all thrilled because we knew that we had won and then they said our name and we got to go out there. We all got our gold medals. We got a banner and it was really awesome. The coaches were really proud of us,” Gailband said. 

Despite a great win in the championship, Winterguard did experience challenges throughout their season: adjusting to new coaches and new practice schedules this year. In addition, Armenta mentioned that most of the team was new so there was a barrier to overcome with the freshness of the team. 

“It was just all really new to us, like the different types of expectations that we were being held up to. It was definitely different. There were a lot of tears, sometimes a lot of sweat. It was mainly just the expectations that we were meant to fulfill because some of us got discouraged at times. Especially throughout the middle of the season, it wasn’t going too well,” Armenta said.  

Winterguard was able to overcome the challenges they experienced this season: new coaches and frequent long hour rehearsals. Fernandez believes that the many hours of hard work paid off in the end. 

“We definitely have to put in a lot of work. A lot of long rehearsals are pretty stressful but I think the whole experience was pretty nice. It was very scary. The awards were so scary. I was shaking but we earned it,” Fernandez said.

Both Armenta and Gailband similarly concluded that this year’s championship was a positive way to end their high school Color Guard career.

“I’m glad I had the little time I had in guard. I only did it my sophomore year which got cut off. Our last competition that we were able to do was what normally would have been one of the first competitions of the season,” Gailband said. “Then you know we did nothing over COVID, so I’m glad that we could get what we did got. I’m glad that we made so much out of it and really made it worth it.”