Being the new corps on the Division I competitive block is no easy task; especially when it's your first year out and you attend the least amount of competitions of any other Division I corps. But since returning to the competitive game on July 14 after a three week break, Academy members have quickly proven themselves against those challenges and are fitting in with their new crowd exceedingly well. Whenever we have our best show, we try even harder to make the next one better, and we keep going from there. After earning the 10th place position at the DCI San Antonio major event on July 21, talked with the Academy's drum majors, Antonio Bracamonte and Andrew Hrynyshyn, to see how they are able to be so successful, even without the experience and history that most Division I corps have. "The Academy is such a great place because everybody here has the same mind-set; we focus on working our hardest and we strive for excellence in everything we do," said Bracamonte. "It's all about performance. We don't try to compete with anybody except for ourselves. Whenever we have our best show, we try even harder to make the next one better, and we keep going from there." The first-year Division I corps has been surprising many people around the country, scoring in and out of the top 12 since their competitive return. But aside from the members' dedication and hard work, the staff is also a large contributor to the corps' success.

The Academy performed at DCI San Antonio,
The Southwestern Championship on July 21.
"During our break from competitions we still rehearsed, and the staff did a really good job planning those rehearsals with the intent of making sure we're don't get overworked or bored with the show," said Hrynyshyn. "They were, and still are, very particular about what we do, and make sure we maintain a good focus and energy level so we can stay positive about what we're doing and have the most efficient rehearsals possible." As two-year veterans of the corps, the two drum majors certainly feel the need to set a good example for the many rookies in the corps, as well as rest of the members, believing that a strong leadership base is another large contributor to the corps' success. As they continue to compete and test themselves against the most elite and distinguished drum corps in the activity this season, the Academy members assure fans that they will stay committed to bringing a new level of excellence to the field each night. "You're going to see a lot more coming at you from the Academy as we get to our last couple weeks of shows," said Bracamonte. "We're excited to be here and excited to throw down," said Hrynyshyn. "It's great to be in Division I this year and that's a big motivation for us, but in the end, it's all about getting a great education and having great performances."