Winter guard to compete in nationals, ranked 7th in the nation

Sarayu Suresh, Staff Writer

Naperville Central’s winter guard team, ranked seventh nationally, will compete at a national tournament in Dayton, Ohio from April 6-9. 

Guard is split into two seasons. Color guard runs during the fall season, where the team performs with the marching band at football games, and competitions. Winter guard runs during the winter season, where the team goes to guard competitions. Color guard is a no cut team, while winter guard is not.  

Debbie Wiles, the coach of winter guard, said that the team has improved despite last year’s season being virtual. 

“Last year, a lot of groups didn’t get to do what we got to do,” Wiles said. “We did everything we normally do except we just didn’t leave Central. We had to send our videos into virtual competitions.”

Despite being seventh in the nation, Wiles said that the team isn’t focused on winning. 

“They just have to do their personal best performances and then everything else takes care of itself,” said Wiles. 

Going into nationals, Emma Brazell, a junior on Winter guard feels that the team is very excited. 

“The ending is always nationals,” she said. “That’s what you work for the entire season. Every other competition is kind of like a practice run until that. The energy is so high on the team, and we’re so everyone’s so excited to get that experience”

Off the field, members are upholding many social events and traditions. One tradition is a “Kidnapping Breakfast,” where the seniors pick up the rest of the team to have breakfast at one of the team members’ houses. They also held a Halloween party and a Winter party. 

“It’s all so fun, since everyone is really close, and we don’t have any drama,” said Sofia Fernandez, one of the captains of the winter guard, “However, my favorite moment was the Christmas party. We all brought food and played BTS.”

According to Brazell, the biggest social experiences often take place on the bus ride to competitions. 

“When you’re going on two hour bus rides, you get to talk,” she said. “It’s one of those group moments where we all get to just hang out. It’s an environment where everybody loves each other and it’s almost like a second family.”

As the winter season comes to an end, the guard is focusing on recruitment. 

“We start workshops in May and train over the summer,” Wiles said. “We pretty much take anybody who would like to do it, regardless of experience level.”