The Cadets were crowned DCI World Champions tonight in Foxboro, capping a wild year of ups and downs within the Division I rankings. The Cadets scored a 99.150, topping the Cavaliers (97.625) and the Phantom Regiment (96.825) while sweeping every caption. George Hopkins, director of the Cadets, felt "relief" upon learning the scores. "It's pretty cool with numbers like that," Hopkins said. Tonight's finale was the dramatic conclusion to a year of drum corps that included the announcement of the ESPN2 broadcast, another quarterfinals cinecast at theaters around the country and at a DCI feature on the CBS Evening News last night. Cavaliers director (and DCI chairman of the board) Jeff Fiedler believed 2005 was a memorable one. "I think it was a great year for the activity. It was incredible competition – scores were back and forth, all the time. You had 15, 16 drum corps that were battling for spots – maybe even more. It was a great summer," Fiedler said. The summer has been a tumultuous ride for Hopkins, who said that he learned, over the course of the summer, to ponder the question, "What comes first? Success or confidence?" "I noticed these kids got extremely confident as we started to place better, and it's kind of unusual for me to go through that with them, and the more confident they got the better they performed, the better they performed, the scores went up," Hopkins said. "I don't know what comes in first in all that, but it's something to take a look at, for me. It's hard to be confident when you're coming in eighth, you know?" Hopkins said Where competition lies in his success-vs.-confidence timeline still remains somewhat elusive. "There is some competitive part in all of this that you have to keep in balance, but it's all very important, I think, in terms of what makes you get up in the morning," Hopkins said. Last night and today, Hopkins stressed that the corps would still rehearse on finals day. "We had our session for the parents and all, but we went out and worked for six hours today. We're not gonna work tomorrow, but that's what we do," Hopkins said. Next year, the Cadets will follow a familiar pattern in terms of the show. "I think we're going to stay on a similar pathway, not this, but storytelling, something a little bit unusual I think, but we've only talked about it briefly." Hopkins thanked Cadets fans for their support this season. "Thanks for all the support. It was a tough ride for some of them, when we had the different uniforms, amplification, scat singing and everything else, but I think that people who stuck with us realize they contributed to the show and I think it worked out – that's why the show was as great as it was," Hopkins said. Looking ahead, Hopkins is looking forward to cleaning buses on Monday and Tuesday, running a board meeting next weekend and moving over Labor Day. For the Cavaliers, director Fiedler called the summer "tremendous." "Overall for how the organization operated and what we did, we had a much better summer than we've had in recent years. This is the healthiest drum corps we've ever had – they were performing at a top level, and they're all really happy."
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