Devils keep perfect season alive in closest finish of 2017
Friday night in Nashville, the one tenth that separated California rivals Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard seemed about as close as two scores could get.
As the two corps — both celebrating key anniversaries in 2017 — have shown this season, history continues to rewrite itself.
With just over one hundredth between the two corps on Saturday night during the DCI Southeastern Championship presented by Jupiter, Mapex and Majestic, the Devils kept their undefeated season alive by a sliver, earning a 93.138 to Vanguard's 93.125.
“It felt really good,” Blue Devils snare drummer Sean Clark said about the corps' performance at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia. “I thought we had a really good sound. The whole battery had a great run. Moving forward we're just worrying about consistency and replicating what we do in rehearsal.”
Once again within striking distance of taking the lead over the Devils — who took first in the color guard and overall visual captions — Santa Clara Vanguard posted high marks in percussion and general effect on way to the corps' second-place finish overall.
“Starting the weekend with a Friday performance like yesterday and then coming in today with an even stronger performance, there's no telling what could happen,” Vanguard horn sergeant Stone Wang said. “The whole corps comes off with an electricity that I've never felt before. Never before have I felt this much energy coming off the field after every performance especially tonight.”
Separated by less than two tenths in Friday's Nashville event, Carolina Crown (3rd, 91.688) and Bluecoats (4th, 91.175) stayed just a hair apart, with Crown regaining its first-place position in the brass caption.
The Cavaliers once again took fifth place, inching closer to reaching the 90-point milestone with a score of 89.850, while finishing as high as second in color guard. Once again just over two points behind the Green Machine were The Cadets, who scored a 87.638 to finish in sixth.
In seventh with a score of 85.500, Phantom Regiment kept its slim advantage over the Blue Knights (8th, 85.250) thanks to a sizable lead in total visual, while the Blue Stars took ninth after posting a score of 83.350.
The La Crosse, Wisconsin-based corps' show, “Star Crossed,” has experienced several additions over the past several weeks, as the Blue Stars look to keep pace in a hotly-contested position battle with the Crossmen, who were not in attendance at Saturday's event.
“It felt really good coming off the field,” said John Kregler, a Blue Stars color guard member. “We think that overall this is the most cohesive the corps has been in a long time, and we're really excited just to see how far we can take it.”
The Academy (10th, 78.625) on Saturday introduced a new ending to its lighthearted, entertaining production, “By a Hare,” while taking 10th place across the board on the score sheets.
Behind the Arizona corps was Saturday's hometown team, Spirit of Atlanta, which eclipsed 75 points for the first time this season with a score of 76.075 to take 11th place.
“It feels great to be able to perform for our home crowd,“ Spirit corps director Chris Moore said. “The energy that they gave tonight is just amazing. The kids feed off of it and it helps them elevate their performance.”
Two corps that have swapped places a few times this season, Pacific Crest (12th, 74.550) and Oregon Crusaders (13th, 73.700), saw the gap between them grow from just over half-a-point in San Antonio a week ago.
Just under two points back from there, Genesis (14th, 71.900) once again kept a small lead over Seattle Cascades (15th, 71.450), with Jersey Surf (16th, 68.100) and Pioneer (17th, 64.550) rounding out the World Class standings.
For Surf in particular, horn sergeant Michael Halvocage felt strongly about how his corps performed on Saturday, despite not being inside the usual confines of the Georgia Dome which closed its doors earlier this year.
“We felt really good coming off the field, and I think we had a really solid show,” he said. “Even though it was a bit different from what we're all used to with the Southeastern regional, I thought that we gave it our all and gave it the best performance that we could.”
All-age corps Atlanta CV also made its traditional appearance at the DCI Southeastern Championship performing in exhibition in front of a welcoming hometown crowd.
With another key event in Winston-Salem, North Carolina less than 24 hours away, several of these corps will be headed that direction, with the entire World Class division making its way to the DCI Eastern Classic in Allentown, Pennsylvania next weekend for two exciting days of competition.