What is winter guard?

Emily Greenzang, R3 Op-Ed Editor

Most WHS students have seen the Westfield Marching Blue Devils perform at football games during the fall season, but what many don’t know is that one section of the band, the color guard, also has a winter season. This activity is called winter guard, with a season that starts in December and ends in April.

Unlike color guard, winter guard strictly takes place indoors; besides that difference, the activities are very similar. Winter guard consists of three basic components: dance, spinning flag and spinning weapon (rifle and sabre). 

I love spinning all of the equipment we use, but I absolutely adore spinning rifle and sabre, even though I get hurt by them most of the time,” said junior Co-Captain Paige Macry. “They both have their own challenges: you need strength for rifle and you need to be graceful with sabre, but I think learning to overcome those challenges is the fun part.”

Photo by Colby Sheppard
WHS Winter Guard with their third place trophy at the South Brunswick competition

With practices that total eight hours per week and six competitions to prepare for throughout the season, the WHS winter guard must learn to function both as a family and team. 

“We are all working towards the same goal throughout the season, which gives us a strong team mentality and brings us even closer together,” said Macry.

The program has experienced a rapid growth in success over the past four seasons. “Every year, I notice a difference in how much motivation we have,” said senior Co-Captain Jessica Rokhsar. “This could easily stem from how well we’ve done these past few years. As we increase in class, we feel the need to focus more and are more motivated to do well.”

Currently, the guard competes in the class Scholastic AA, which signifies that it competes on a national scale and is a well-established group that has competed for multiple seasons. This season, the guard performed at three competitions, earning one first place title and two third place titles. 

Normally, the team would have three more competitions to prepare for: one regional, one power regional (also referred to as a “mini-world championship” according to wgi.org) and one championship event. However, this year the season was cut short due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.

“It may have been cut short because of the virus, but until we know for sure when our season really ends, I want us to enjoy every moment as a guard,” said Rokhsar.