Winterguard season remains unknown

Emma Decker, Staff writer

Following an announcement from Governor J.B. Pritzker and the IHSA directive, all practices in the state of Illinois have been postponed until further notice. For the Winterguard team, this news wasn’t unexpected. 

After the team was announced on November 13, scheduling for practices came quickly thereafter. Unfortunately, the call to postpone practices came only a few days later, leaving the team with heavy spirits. With the amount of change and uncertainty revolving around sports at the moment, members say that this was a foreseeable outcome. 

New rules and regulations have already been put in place by the Illinois Drill Team Association, the most notable being the completely virtual competitions. Teams and soloists alike will come together to record their routines a week in advance of the competition, then submit the video to the judges at IDTA. At this time, it is still unclear what is to take place the day of the competition, but there has been speculation of a large video or call. 

Jacksonville High School’s Winterguard team has a five-year streak of state qualifying scores. In 2018, Jacksonville swept the floor at the state competition, winning two state champion titles in AA Tall Flag and AA Lyrical Flag. After their win, the team size continued to decrease, but the qualifications kept coming.

Now in these uncertain times, the Winterguard team is doing their best to keep practicing all while keeping spirits high. Seniors Abby Hayes, Rissa Capps, Claudia Blanford and Emma Decker will compete with their solos this coming season while progressing on the group routines, but with practices at a standstill, the four are keeping motivated for the sake of each other and their team.

These are unpredictable times, so make sure to keep those participating in postponed winter sports in your thoughts. These are tough times for athletes, and they could use all the support they can get.