By Michelle Caceres

The Newsome High School winter guard wowed the judges with their choreographed routine at the Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit AA State Championships, taking home its top prize last month in Daytona Beach.

The guard had recently been promoted from class AAA to class AA, which included more rigorous and difficult routines.

 Unlike a traditional color guard that performs on the football field with a live band, winter guard is performed indoors, usually in a gymnasium or arena. Performances make use of recorded music and thrill the judges with breathtaking visual effects through expressive choreography and equipment work with flags, rifles and sabres. Good color guard teams perform intricate movements in sync and elicit emotional responses from audiences.

 The 22 member team rehearses after school three days per week, working to perform moves with precision and grace.

 Coach Michael Miller said he is extremely proud of his students who work hard to balance their academic and guard commitments.

 “In the last year alone, they have grown in quantity and quality,” he said. “I am also thankful for the extremely knowledgeable and professional color guard educational staff who lead our students to success on the floor and in life.”

Freshman Lauren Alvarez joined the team because her brother Anthony, a senior at Bloomingdale High, thought she should join Newsome’s team. “He spoke highly about the guard at his school and said they were really good and he thought I’d like it,” she said.

 Big brother was right.

 “This has been such a great experience and we practiced so hard for so long,” said Alvarez. “I can’t wait to see what our team will be capable of next year.”

 Off the field, Miller said the members of his team are leaders amongst their peers and display the key ingredient to their success.

 “Unity within the guard is our secret,” he said.

 For more information, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.