While the corps in Indianapolis gained only 1.91 on average from their scores in San Antonio a week ago, the corps in Denver had an average gain of 1.52. While it's impossible to compare scores from one panel to those of another, it's interesting to note just how little scores have risen over the past week. All corps except Troopers went up in score. Blue Knights went up an astounding 4.7, followed by a gain of 3.5 by Glassmen, 2.175 by Santa Clara Vanguard, 1.45 by Academy, 1.425 by the Cadets and 1.325 by Carolina Crown. Gains of less than a point were experienced by Cascades (.725), Bluecoats (.675), Mandarins (.375) and Crossmen (.75). Troopers' score went down .375 from the corps' afternoon performance in San Antonio. Pacific Crest was not in San Antonio. The recap placements for Cadets (1st-91.675) are quite easy to analyze. The corps placed first in every caption except General Effect (GE) Visual (second) and Color Guard (second). Bluecoats (2nd-89.750) finished just above Carolina Crown (3rd-89.250). A fourth place in General Effect Visual and Color Guard almost offset straight second place finishes in everything else for the Ohio corps. Carolina Crown is where things get much more interesting. Third place in both General Effect Visual (just .3 out of first place) and GE Music (down .9 to the Cadets and .6 to Bluecoats) resulted in a fourth place finish in overall GE. Fourth place finishes in Visual Performance and Visual Ensemble were more than neutralized by a first place finish in Color Guard, raising the corps' overall visual placement to second place. All three music captions were third. Now back to winning the color guard caption: The score of 18.5 was a full .9 above the Cadets' second place score, 1.0 above Santa Clara's guard and 1.8 above Bluecoats. Crown's percussion section being just .5 under Bluecoats and .75 under the Cadets is quite an improvement from last year, when the line was 14th at the 2006 DCI World Championship Semifinals. The corps' third place brass score was just .4 under the Cadets. It's consistently great guard scores that could be the key to Carolina Crown pulling ahead of some unsuspecting corps at Rose Bowl Stadium. Santa Clara Vanguard (4th-88.425) took the top mark in General Effect Visual, but was down 1.1 in GE Music to the Cadets, for fourth in that caption. Straight third places in all visual captions couldn't compete with being fourth in Music Brass and Percussion and fifth in Music Ensemble which is 1.3 down to the Cadets and even .8 down to Crown's third place score in that caption. The Blue Knights (5th-86.000), enjoying that gain of 4.7 over last weekend's San Antonio evening event, were fourth in Music Ensemble, (ahead of the Vanguard by .3), sixth in Color Guard (1.9 down to Crown but edging Glassmen by .2) and fifth in everything else. If that same momentum was kept going into next weekend's regional competition, the race with Boston Crusaders could again possibly be a tight one. (Boston was ahead .675 in Atlanta two weeks ago but enjoyed a spread of 3.2 at the San Antonio evening event. Although Boston was in Indianapolis Saturday night, Blue Knights' score was .4 higher. There might well be a race worth watching here for that coveted top-eight position.) The Glassmen (6th-81.4) were 4.6 down to Blue Knights with 2.3 of that coming in General Effect. Another .8 came in Music Brass alone. (Remember that the 1.6 spread has to be divided by two. The only scores that aren't divided by two to get the final totals are the two General Effect scores.) The corps was fifth in Color Guard, seventh in GE Music and Visual Performance, eighth in Visual Ensemble and sixth in everything else. The Academy (7th-80.425) remains the big question mark in regards to being a potential World Championship Finalist. Combining scores from Denver and Indianapolis, the corps was 13th Saturday night, after having finished 10th in San Antonio. Other than 10th place in Music Brass and seventh in Music Ensemble, Crossmen (8th-78.500) placed eighth in every caption. 3.775 behind the Academy in last weekend's San Antonio afternoon show, the corps closed the gap by 1.85 in Denver. Pacific Crest (9th-76.25) had been out of the full tour loop since Allentown three weeks ago, so it's more difficult to chart the corps' recent progress. However, combining scores from both shows Saturday night shows the corps sitting on the bubble, just inside of the top 17 Semifinals cutoff for now. Seventh in Visual GE and eighth in Music Brass was tempered by 10th place finishes in Percussion, Visual Ensemble and GE Music and 11th place in Music Ensemble. Cascades (10th-75.55) took seventh in Color Guard and ninth in GE Music and Music Ensemble. They were 10th or 11th in almost everything else, but placed 12th in Percussion. Troopers (11th-73.575), the only corps to drop in score since San Antonio, took ninth in Color Guard, Music Brass and Percussion and 10th in Music Ensemble, but 12th in everything else. Scoring 1.2 under Cascades in GE Visual accounted for most of the 1.975 gap between the two corps. Mandarins (12th-73.15) outscored Troopers in GE Visual and GE Music, Visual Performance and Color Guard, but fell to 12th in Visual Ensemble, Music Brass and Music Ensemble. Adding to the intrigue going into Pasadena, the corps that competed in Indianapolis and the corps that competed in Denver will all be mixed up in different combinations at next weekend's simultaneous shows in Phoenix and Stanford, Calif. While it might be a weekend that answers a few questions, it may also be a weekend that asks many more — questions that won't be resolved until a week later at Rose Bowl Stadium.
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