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December, 2012

Guard tosses, spins into winter competition season by Snovia Moiz, staff writer The sound of applause begins to fill the dimly lit gymnasium as the music comes to a stop. The members of the Winter Guard leave the performance floor, however, the excitement in their eyes remain, even after the performance has ended. This is their time. This is their moment. Winter guard is an indoor competition season that consists of various competitions against other guards. The season starts in the second semester, but the team began practicing in Nov. “We start performing around January or February and [the season] ends the end of March or beginning of April,” senior Abbie Gardner said. Color guard and winter guard contrast in many ways, including the band’s involvement. After football season ends, the band does not perform witht the color guard as thbegins to focus on their competition season. “[Winter guard] typically has a more theatrical feel than marching band, and show themes come in great variety,” said sponsor and coach Lisa Hall. “I would encourage anyone who enjoys music and dance to check out a show sometime.” The color guard team consists of six underclassmen and six upperclassmen. In previous years the team has had around thirty-two people. “We do not currently have enough members to sustain both a JV and Varsity guard, so we have to work to find unity despite the wide variety in

experience and training between members,” Hall said. “The upside to having just one guard is that all the members get to work together and learn from one another.” Winter guard has various positions, such as weapons and flags. Upperclassmen usually spin rifles and freshmen tend to work with flags. The two have to work together in perfect synchronization to make a performance the best it can be.

Photo submitted by Lisa Hall Winter guard often practices on Saturdays for 12 hours at a time. Members say that they put plenty of time and effort into perfecting routines.

“Usually, you begin a show with dancers, then you bring in a weapon line, rifle or saber,” senior Molly Jobko said. “And then you bring in a flag line and sometimes dancers are still off to the

side, but at the very end we’re all in unison as flags. Although Jobko has been in color guard since her freshman year, she admits that she still gets nervous. “Usually, especially if I have a solo, [I’m thinking] ‘I hope I don’t screw up!’ but I try to put that energy into the performance and not let it affect me,” Jobko said. “It helps knowing I have friends and family in the audience and on the floor that have my back.” Winter guard performs to one song during competitions, which tends to be a contemporary or mash-up song, but this year the guard plans on doing an instrumental. “Last year we did an Adele song; there’s been Chris Mann and a whole bunch of different stuff,” Gardner said. “We kind of go with the song, and that’s what the show will be about. The instrumental song we have this year, our director explained it as kind of a longing and it’s a journey. So, that’s how we will put our emotions into that.” The girls hope to do their best this season and push themselves past their limits. In order to do so, the guard will have practices for up to eleven hours at a time, in which they work on staging and choreography. “One big goal of the 2013 winter guard season is to present an interesting, precise show to a variety of audiences,” Hall said. “In addition to our usual Texas Color Guard Circuit competitions, we are seeking additional performance opportunities on

and off campus. Color Guard does not typically get as much exposure as some other activities, and we want to change that. Because nearly half of the guard will be graduating this year, it is of utmost importance to be seen and spark interest in potential future members.”

Photo submitted by Lisa Hall The color guard is well-known for their performance alongside with the marching band. They can be seen singing, dancing and cheering with the “spirit flags” that they bring to each game.

Get on his level

Junior competes in gymnastics but decides to focus on academic career by Gabrielle Deckelman, Features Editor He does a tumbling pass stretching the entire length of the floor, managing to catch the attention of every spectator in the room, though he is only worried about one thing: sticking the landing. Junior John Swartout has been doing gymnastics for longer than he can remember. Currently coached by Hideo Mizoguchi at Champion’s Gymnastics. Swartout began gymnastics at age nine and has been competing for the past six years. “I started taking gymnastics because at my preschool, there was a guy who came in once a week and it was like a traveling gym,” Swartout said. “He brought in mats and I loved doing it so I begged my parents to sign me up for actual lessons.” Swartout is currently a level ten gymnast and has been classified as this for the past two years. Level ten is the highest level of gymnastics before elite, which consists of world-class gymnasts. Swartout spends his afternoons at the gym, as he trains four and a half hours each day, six times a week. He uses study hall and extra time in between classes to complete his schoolwork. “[Gymnastics] takes a lot more time than any other of the sports,” Swartout said. “I know lots of people practice for two hours and think it’s really tough but we put in a lot more time.”

Photo submitted by John Swartout Junior John Swartout competes on parallel bars at a competition.

Men’s gymnastics consists of six different events: floor, vault, pommel horse, parallel bars, rings, and high bar. According to Swartout, his favorite event is floor.

“[Gymnastics] takes lots of persistence,” Swartout said. “You have to try and try and never give up and keep pushing.” Replacing relaxation time at home with gymnastics, Swartout chose this sport as he felt his body stature was appropriate. “My height and body shape would allow me to excel in that sport [gymnastics] opposed to basketball and football where you have to be very big and tall,” Swartout said. “I am motivated by the want to be in shape.” Swartout has competed nationally for the past four years and attributes the time he got to competing alongside Olympian Danell Levya at a competition in Florida as one of his most favorable moments. Though Swartout has decided to continue with school rather than train for the Olympics, he hopes to continue with gymnastics at William and Mary, a college in Virginia. “I have thought about training for the Olympics, but most of the people that train for the Olympics are homeschooled or don’t go to school,” Swartout said. “ So if they were to get hurt or injured then they wouldn’t really have another career path other than being a gymnastics coach and I guess I would rather do other things.” When Swartout is not in the gym, he is singing.

Swarout is a member of varsity choir and has been singing since junior high. “I like bringing joy to people through music,” Sawrtout said. “ I chose to join choir because I loved singing to the radio as a kid and I still do, so I thought singing would be a good fit.” Swartout has been playing piano since he was four and plays the electric guitar . “Its really hard to balance everything because sometimes I have to leave gymnastics early to go do choir things and sometimes to do homework,” Swartout said. “No one is happy because everyone thinks that their activity is the most important thing, and it is really difficult.” While Swartout is not in the gym or singing, he spends his summers at his lake house, as a competitive water-skier. As a child, Swartout’s mother had a dream of having a lake house. “She made that happen [owning a lake house] and she taught us,” Swartout said. “We go out [to the lake house] almost everyday during the summer and we compete in competitions.” Despite Swartout’s busy life, he hopes to continue with gymnastics through college and become an orthodontist. “[Gymnastics] is a way to take my mind off of school and everything else in life; it’s a break,” Swartout said.


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