Posted: 4:21 p.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bellbrook wins Color Guard world championship

Bellbrook team wins international winter guard competition
The Bellbrook winter guard team stands behind their championship trophy.

By Everdeen Mason

Staff Writer

Bellbrook High School’s Marching Eagles took first place in their division at the Winter Guard International’s Color Guard Championships after three days of competition against 300 other teams.

After 20 years of competition this is the third time the Marching Eagles have made finals of the world championships, and the first time they have won.

The Marching Eagles won performing a program called “Mother Mine,” about the team mothers, late Friday night at the University of Dayton Arena.

“I take their kids away from them for a majority of the time,” said Sheldon Apo, guard director for 10 years. “It’s a way of giving back to them and showing how much I appreciate them. They never lost faith, and it was rewarding in all cases.”

A color guard performance is not unlike a marching band performance, but staged in a gym. Teams use flags, sabers, mock rifles and other equipment along with dance to perform a color guard routine, according to the Winter Guard International organization.

“It’s a hard sport to follow, and we do call it a sport because of how much they have to rehearse and how much athleticism is involved,” Apo said. He has three guards at the middle school and high school levels, and says students regularly put in 17-plus hours a week. It was his top team of 18 that won Friday.

“It takes hours and hours to design and choreograph routines, and every student who participated will put forth all their effort,” he said.

Apo had three seniors on his team this year: Emma Bengson, Cece Thompson and Taylor Williams.

Next, the Winter Guard International will host 200 teams at the Percussion World Championships in Dayton from April 18 through April 20.

Between both competitions, around 11,000 athletes up to age 22 will perform, drawing more than 40,000 people to the area, said Bart Woodley, WGI’s director of operations and sponsor relations. He estimates the event will have a $15 million impact on the local economy.

Staff writer Amelia Robinson contributed to this report.


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