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Campus team overcomes injuries, anticipates championship

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

FC winter guard members pose for a picture after winning first place at Hoover High School, March 9.

As sports wind down during the last few months of the school year, FC winter guard prepares for upcoming San Joaquin Valley Color Guard Percussion Review (SJVCGPR) Championship Competition, March 30.

High school teams gather to compete for the champion title at Clovis North High School. The team performs at 1:55 p.m. along with five campus guard members participating in the solo competition at various times.

Brittany McCann, ’20, performs at 11:35 a.m., Shauna Howard, ‘20, at 11:40 a.m., and Brennen Tozlian, ‘21, at 11:45 a.m. Seventh graders Pareesa Kashefi and Audrey Walstad present their routines at 2:45 p.m. and 3:35 p.m.

Brennen Tozlian co-captains the team with Brittany McCann. After being out for many weeks getting his appendix removed, Tozlian is ready to start competing again.

“I’m really excited about this competition,” Tozlian said. “I haven’t competed since January because of my surgery and it’s the championships. At the last competition, we won first place which gave us a confidence boost. I like how fast-paced this routine is and how it’s the beginning and end of a story.”

In the following podcast, Morgan Parker interviews coach Alicia Gonzalez about the team’s improvement, March 28.

At SJVCGPR 2018, FC got seventh place out of 10 schools in Regional Bronze division. This year against five high school teams, they work towards getting the gold in the Scholastic Regional A Gold division.

“Our team has been through a lot this year,” Tozlian said. “One of our teammates has to take a separate class period, one had to stop competing, and I went into surgery halfway through the season. We have rewritten the show more than three times. We also got bumped up into a higher division and went from regional bronze to regional gold!”

Being a guard of six, the members want the audience and judges to observe their dedication and advanced tricks and tosses. The name of the routine is called ‘Landmines’, a dance routine including flags, rifles, and props.

Kori Friesen | The Feather Online

Guard members competed last year with their routine called ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’.

Coaches Alicia Gonzalez and Michelle Rodriguez have been guiding various school guards for seven years and FC guard for three years. Gonzalez hopes to see the colorguard grow in numbers, strength, and as a team.

“Over the season we’ve seen huge growth,” Gonzalez said. “The first competition was an evaluation to see where we rank. We were expecting to stay at our level or go up one but we actually bumped up two more levels. We changed a lot of the show to fit in that higher level and it’s shown. We got first at our last competition which was a great experience overall.”

After going down to six teammates and Tozlian out for five weeks, the team pushed each other to be their best at SJVCGPR with new additions to their routine. Additions like a one handed sabre toss and a mini duet from Howard and Tozlian bring in extra skill.

“The team is always trying to push each other,” Gonzalez said. “The biggest part of our show is the performance aspect and it’s really hard when you’re tossing a rifle five feet in the air to worry about when to make facial expressions. We’re hoping that the guard continues to grow not only in numbers but also in strength and compete at different international competitions.”

After placing 12th at Clovis East, fifth at Buchanan, and first at Hoover, the team is taking extra time to practice and perform their full routine for the judges and crowd. All five entered in the solo competition except Tozlian and prepare for their very first solo routine.

Junior Howard goes into the competition seeing how far the team has come in skill and strength. Howard thinks the judges’ great comments from last show were really helpful to clean up the routine for Saturday.

“This is our final performance for the season and we feel good about our show,” Howard said. “It’s also my first time competing in the solo competition. This competition is championships, the last one of the season. It usually has the most schools performing and the guards that place get medals as well as a trophy. The last competition was a great opportunity for us to practice our show and get feedback from different judges.”

The following tweet includes a video of winter guard’s routine in their second competition of the season, Feb. 8.

With two new members, the team has worked up from twelfth place to first over the last competitions. Howard is preparing for her first solo against many high schoolers and two other FC guard members.

“I like that our routine is more technical than last year,” Howard said, “and we improved and stepped up in skill. We had two new members at the beginning of the year and a third new member that joined right before winter guard season. They adapted really well and have come a long way. We also had one member out the last competition due to medical complications. but he will be competing for championships.”

After March 30, FC will attend the Anaheim Heritage Festival along with choir, ensemble, and band to compete one last time for the season. The SJVCGPR competition is located in the large gym on the Clovis North Campus.

Prices are: $15 for adults, $10 for students, children, and seniors to attend. Go support your FC color guard on Saturday, March 30.

For more articles, read New Voices legislation seeks to restore student journalist rights and Softball continues record breaking season.

Morgan Parker can be reached via Twitter and email.

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