Drum Corps International
Competitive Edge: July 24-30
The battle for a top-12 spot in the DCI Finals has been tightly contested this week, with the Madison Scouts making a strong case for their inclusion.Photo by: T. McCourt, DCI.org

Competitive Edge: July 24-30

by Jeff Griffith

Current Rankings
Based on average score, July 24-July 30

1. Blue Devils
92.553 | Winston-Salem: 93.925

2. Santa Clara Vanguard 
92.330 | Winston-Salem: 93.575

3. Carolina Crown
90.958 | Winston-Salem: 92.450

4. Bluecoats
90.460 | Winston-Salem: 91.200

5. The Cavaliers
88.880 | Winston-Salem: 90.200

6. Boston Crusaders
87.738 | Winston-Salem: 88.600

7. The Cadets
86.977 | Winston-Salem: 88.650

8. Phantom Regiment (+1)
84.938 | Winston-Salem: 85.250

9. Blue Knights (-1)
84.450 | Powder Springs: 85.250

10. Blue Stars (+1)
82.760 | Powder Springs: 83.850

11. Crossmen (-1)
82.700 | Winston-Salem: 84.000

12. Madison Scouts (+1)
80.890 | Winston-Salem: 81.500


13. Mandarins (-1) – 80.044
14. The Academy – 78.038
15. Colts (+1) – 76.400
16. Troopers (-1) – 76.131
17. Spirit of Atlanta (+1) – 74.744
18. Pacific Crest (+2) – 73.700
19. Vanguard Cadets – 73.700
20. Blue Devils B (-3) – 73.575 
21. Oregon Crusaders – 73.483
22. Genesis (+1) – 71.013
23. Legends (+2) – 70.267
24. Spartans (+2) – 70.075
25. Seattle Cascades (-1) – 70.063


26. Music City (-4) – 68.775
27. 7th Regiment – 67.400
28. Gold – 66.700
29. Jersey Surf – 66.525
30. Guardians (+4) – 63.967
31. Pioneer – 63.963
32. Southwind (+1) – 62.283
33. Impulse (+5) – 62.400
34. Louisiana Stars (-4) – 61.250
35. Raiders (+4) – 60.350
36. River City Rhythm (-4) – 59.600 | No performances this week
37. Colt Cadets (-1) – 59.100
38. Shadow (-1) – 56.350
39. Les Stentors – 49.317


Top Caption Scores

Blue Devils

World Class
General Effect: Blue Devils (37.575), Santa Clara Vanguard (37.35), Carolina Crown (37.05)
Total Music: Carolina Crown (28.05), Blue Devils (28.0), Santa Clara Vanguard (27.975)
Total Visual: Blue Devils (28.35), Santa Clara Vanguard (28.25), Carolina Crown (27.35)

Brass: Carolina Crown (18.8), Blue Devils (18.6), Santa Clara Vanguard (18.4)
Percussion: Santa Clara Vanguard (18.75), Blue Devils (18.4), Carolina Crown (18.35)
Color Guard: Blue Devils (18.8), Santa Clara Vanguard (18.7), The Cavaliers (18.4)

Open Class
General Effect: Vanguard Cadets (30.4), Blue Devils B (29.4), Legends (29.0)
Total Music: Vanguard Cadets (21.9), Blue Devils B (21.75), Legends (21.05)
Total Visual: Vanguard Cadets (21.2), Blue Devils B (21.15), Spartans (21.55)

Brass: Vanguard Cadets (15.2), Blue Devils B (15.0), Legends (14.3)
Percussion: Vanguard Cadets (14.2), Blue Devils (13.9), Gold (13.6)
Color Guard: Blue Devils B (14.9), Legends (14.8), Spartans (14.4)

Storylines to Watch

Open Class

Guardians

Comeback corps: The Vanguard Cadets put together one of the most meteoric scoring jumps this season over the last several weeks, culminating in a 1.2-point defeat of Blue Devils B on Saturday in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The corps trailed its in-state rival by nearly three points at the beginning of the summer, but, with Saturday's win, earned its first head-to-head victory over Blue Devils B since last July.

“All of the Lights” shining for Guardians: After opening their season 1.6 points behind Southwind, the Guardians turned things around in their second week, besting the Alabama-based corps by nearly five points on Friday in Metamora, Illinois. At the same event, the Houston corps also finished a little over a point away from Gold, a top-eight finisher from 2016 that the Guardians have never beaten in their four years of Open Class competition.

Legends heating up: As the third Open Class corps to break the 70-point milestone, members of the Legends have put themselves in position to earn a medal for the second straight season after finishing third in 2016. While the corps opened up a spread of 1.6 points over Spartans in White Lake, Michigan, on Sunday, the corps has yet to finish ahead of Music City in head-to-head competition this season. The two will face off again for the first time in more than a week on Tuesday in Macomb, Illinois, with three total meetings on the remaining on the schedule prior to the season-ending World Championships.

Finals around the corner: With the Open Class World Championships in Michigan City, Indiana, just a week away, the top-12 spots in Tuesday's Finals competition are up for grabs. As of today, based on this past week's average scores, the following corps would be slotted for a Finals-night performance: 1. Vanguard Cadets 2. Blue Devils B 3. Legends 4. Spartans 5. Music City 6. 7th Regiment 7. Gold 8. Guardians 9. Southwind 10. Impulse 11. Louisiana Stars 12. Raiders. River City Rhythm — who hasn't competed in more than a week and therefore sits in 13th by average score — will also be looking to return to the Finals for the third straight season. Since reemerging as an Open Class corps in 2015, 2017 will mark Southwind's first trip to the World Championships. 

New competition from across the pond: The Company of Chesterfield, England, will make its way to the states in the coming days to take part in the latter portion of the DCI Summer Tour. Competing in International Class, the corps will perform in Clifton, NJ (August 2), Allentown, PA (August 4) and Avon Lake, OH (August 5), as well as at Open Class championships in Michigan City and World Championships in Indianapolis. 

World Class

Santa Clara Vanguard

2017's tightest race: With what appears to be the closest spread between a first and second place corps in DCI history, Santa Clara Vanguard came within just thirteen thousandths (.013) of passing the Blue Devils for the first time since 2007 on Saturday in Powder Springs, Georgia. That came only one night after Vanguard finished a tenth behind in Nashville. The Devils responded on Sunday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, however, opening that lead back up to just under four tenths and sweeping all three major scoring captions by slim margins. These two corps will only face off one more time before the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis, coming up on August 6 in Buffalo, New York.

Taking the Crown in music: Despite still having just over a point's worth of ground to make up between itself and the top-two corps, Carolina Crown has continued to put up impressive numbers in the overall music caption. The Fort Mill, South Carolina corps topped the field in music in both Powder Springs and Winston-Salem this past weekend, while also winning brass and music analysis at both events. Crown's percussion also rose into the top three at the corps' Sunday night “home show” at Wake Forest University.

Not going down without a fight: While The Cadets have been as far as a full point behind the Boston Crusaders in recent meetings, the 10-time World Champion proved that it's still very much in contention for a spot in the top six by finishing less than a tenth of a point behind Boston on Sunday in Winston-Salem. Fueled by a well-developed new closer, The Cadets found themselves ahead of the Crusaders at the Tour of Champions series event in the general effect caption, while closely trailing in overall music and visual.

Back on top: Phantom Regiment capped off a strong week ahead of the Blue Knights for the third straight time in Powder Springs, after having lost all but one of the previous nine meetings. Strong scores in the visual caption has kept the Rockford, Illinois corps ahead of its season-long rival from Denver. However, a solid lead in music has kept the Blue Knights within striking distance of regaining a lead, and that could shake things up in the final weeks of the season.

Genesis

Strong improvement for Genesis: In breaking 70 points earlier this week, the newest World Class corps enters August more than seven points ahead of where it sat at the same point in 2016. Genesis has consistently been finishing ahead of World Class opponents like Seattle Cascades, Jersey Surf and Pioneer, while scoring just two points behind Oregon Crusaders — the last corps to join DCI's World Class division prior to Genesis' move — on Saturday in Powder Springs.

Crossmen keep control: Two corps that continue to finish neck and neck, the Crossmen and Blue Stars only met twice this week, with the San Antonio corps finishing just a quarter of a point ahead Thursday in Birmingham. With three straight victories, the Crossmen have put themselves in a strong position with just two head-to-head meetings with the Blue Stars still remaining before the two head to Indianapolis for the World Championships.

Men from Madison respond: The drum corps world was sent into a frenzy last week when the Mandarins defeated the Madison Scouts for the first time in history, but the Scouts made sure to get back on top as soon as possible, finishing ahead of the Sacramento corps in both of their head-to-head meetings this week. Most recently, the men from Madison held a lead of more than half a point over Mandarins on Sunday in Winston-Salem, thanks to major improvements in the visual caption, which had previously been hurting the Scouts in what will likely be a battle for the last spot in the World Championship Finals.

Martians making noise: The Cavaliers made things even more interesting in the top five by finishing just a point off of the fourth-place Bluecoats in Winston-Salem, marking the closest margin between the two since June of 2014. The visual caption as a whole proved to be the strong suit of the Green Machine this weekend, as the corps finished just five hundredths behind the Bluecoats in that caption overall. Showing significant improvement all season long, The Cavaliers are currently trailing the first-place Blue Devils by 2.725 points, the closest they've finished to the Concord, California corps since 2011.

Upcoming Events

Pioneer

Monday, July 31
Dublin, OH
Salem, VA
Charleston, WV

Tuesday, August 1
Annapolis, MD
Centerville, OH
Minneapolis, MN

Wednesday, August 2
Waukesha, WI
Pittsburgh, PA
Clifton, NJ
Oregon, IL

Thursday, August 3
Lawrence, MA
Chester, PA

Friday, August 4
Allentown, PA
Sheffield, PA
Oregon, WI

Saturday, August 5
Allentown, PA
Avon Lake, OH
Cedar Rapids, IA

Sunday, August 6
Rome, NY
Buffalo, NY

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