The Cavaliers
Four World Class corps, Bluecoats, the Cadets, the Cavaliers, and Carolina Crown were neck-and-neck coming into the Sunday edition of the DCI Southwestern Premier Event on July 25 in Converse, Texas near San Antonio. With less than a point between them, it was anybody's guess on where they would fall. But at the end of the night, the Cavaliers took top honors with a first place finish and a score of 90.400. "It was really, really good," said color guard member Maurice Wright about the corps' performance on Sunday. "It's the energy from the crowd and the energy on the field from the horn players and the percussion, that pushes us to have a really good show." According to fellow guard member Keegan Sullivan, the corps primarily competes against itself: "It's about pushing yourself harder and harder every day and trying to get a higher score. It's not about 'they're beating us by this much,' it's just about pushing ourselves higher and trying to make it a better performance." The Cavaliers eclipsed 90 points for the first time Thursday in Dallas and have hovered in that spot throughout this week's Texas series of events. Bluecoats (2nd, 89.950), Carolina Crown (3rd, 89.850) and the Cadets (4th, 89.25) are waiting in the wings with the potential to make a leap to the top at any time.

The Cadets
While the Bluecoats were ahead of the South Carolina corps by just a tenth of a point in San Antonio, Crown is confident that recent changes they've made to their production will pay dividends. "We put in a lot of work [recently] and made a lot of changes, but there's a lot of energy happening on the field. We put on a good performance," said third-year trumpet player Katie Rozacky. "I think as a drum corps we've become a lot tighter than we've been this season—as a family, on the field, timing-wise, everything. This year, we're older and more mature about a lot of things. We're a lot more talented." Rozacky added. With a fifth place finish and score of 85.550 the Boston Crusaders have earned the eighth and final spot in the Pearl Presents the Masters of the Summer Music Games event coming up on Friday, July 30 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. With a lineup determined by the scores from Saturday and Sunday in San Antonio, the Crusaders took their place in the elite eight by narrowly staying ahead of the surging Blue Stars by just four tenths of a point. "The color guard pushed through our performance tonight as did the drum corps," said Boston Crusaders color guard member Lindsay Ogles. "We had a full rehearsal day recently so we got a lot of work done. I hope we showed it to the crowd tonight."

Boston Crusaders
And the Boston Crusaders did just that, entertaining both the audience and earning strong scores from judges. "The last time we were [in Murfreesboro] it wasn't a lineup of just the top eight, it was all the corps," Ogles said. "So this year it's more about us proving ourselves again, showing that we deserve to go to Murfreesboro." The Madison Scouts (6th, 81.550) scored slightly lower than their Friday night performance in Houston, but are holding steady among the top 12 of World Class corps. In 7th place were the Colts (78.900), who edged out Spirit (8th, 78.200) by seven tenths of a point. Less than a point below Spirit were the Crossmen (9th, 77.350), who performed "Full Circle" to an enthusiastic hometown crowd. Teal Sound (10th, 73.350) rounded out the World Class competition with another energetic performance of "In the Presence of Enemies." Two Open Class corps kicked off Sunday's competition amid temperatures in the mid-90s. San Antonio's Revolution (77.250) took first place with its program "Fade to Black," which portrays the gradual descent from light into dark. Color guard member and San Antonio local Tim Guerra, along with horn line age-out Will Bailey, agreed it was an energetic performance for the corps. "It's a big step," said Guerra on the difference between high school band and marching as a member of Revolution. "I've never experienced something like this ever, but I really like it. I know I can take this experience back to my high school."

"I don't want this season to be over," said Bailey who joined Revolution in 2007. "This is my age-out year so I'm trying to enjoy every little bit that I can." In second place in the Open Class was the first-year corps Genesis (75.000) of Edinburg, Texas. Snare drummer Daniel Burow said that marching in a drum corps is "probably one of the toughest things I've ever done, mentally and physically." But to get through those tough days, Burow thinks about his family for a little extra inspiration on the field. The Drum Corps International Tour will make its way south this week, culminating Friday and Saturday with two of the biggest events of the season. Pearl Presents the Masters of the Summer Music Games on Friday, July 30 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. will feature the eight highest-ranking World Class corps while on Saturday, July 31, the DCI Atlanta Southeastern Championships presented by Lake Oconee and Greene County, GA will be the first time all 23 World Class corps meet in one spot on the same day. View a complete recap of scores from Sunday in San Antonio. Contributing to this report: Ryan Cain, Craig Olear