Blue Devils (97.55) took first place at the World Championship Prelims, Friday, Aug. 10, and took one more step to adding another perfect season to the corps' record books. "The focus right now is just getting better every time we have a rep," Blue Devils drum major Matt Williams said. "Keeping our eyes on the prize and really pushing to the end." Williams said the corps was itching to go and raring to take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. As they look forward to the Semifinals, he echoed a sentiment from corps director David Gibbs after their performance. "Those last couple of points aren't necessarily going to come from cleaning tiny things up," Williams said. "It's just that little extra something — that Blue Devils sparkle you've see in years past."
Carolina Crown (96.60, 2nd) made small headway on closing the gap on Blue Devils and put two points between themselves and Phantom Regiment (94.60, 3rd). The Cadets (94.05, 4th) returned to fourth place after finishing ahead of Phantom Regiment at their last three events. Santa Clara Vanguard (93.20, 5th) drum major Noe Gomez said they had a solid Prelims run throughout, from color guard to brass to percussion. "I feel like tomorrow night is going to be nice and solid," Gomez said. "A nice solid performance just like we had tonight. Nothing too crazy for us. We're just going to come back and try to do it consistently." Bluecoats (92.25, 6th) were the last corps to break 90 points on Thursday. In 2011, eight corps broke the 90-point barrier by Finals night. The Cavaliers (89.50, 7th) found themselves half a point away from joining the club.
Boston Crusaders (89.00, 8th) kept themselves ahead of Madison Scouts (88.55, 9th), while Blue Knights (85.85, 10th) made their move on Spirit of Atlanta (85.20, 11th). Blue Knights and Spirit of Atlanta swapped placements from where they finished at the DCI Eastern Classic last weekend. In turn, despite falling behind Blue Stars (83.75, 12th) on Sunday, Aug. 5 at the Three Rivers Summer Music Games, Spirit of Atlanta surged past Blue Stars for a little more secure spot in the top 12. All the while, Crossmen (83.40, 13th) held on to the 13th spot. Glassmen (81.25, 14th) drum major Adam Shrock said his corps' Prelims performance went really well, with corps members showing a good amount of energy out on the field. "I'm thinking if the energy is sustained than all we need to do is do what we've always done," he said. "Wake up tomorrow morning and treat it like another show day. Not like Semifinals trying to make Finals. Just treat it like a show day and have the same focused energy that we always have."
In his first year with the Toledo corps, Shrock will return to the Glassmen next year once again as drum major. He's previously marched with Pioneer and has two seasons left before aging out. "It's crazy," he said about how the current season has gone. "This season feels faster than the last. It feels like just yesterday you're moving in and suddenly you're moving out." The Academy (79.95, 15th) Director Mark Richardson said their 2012 field show "Left of Spring" is a story about rebirth — a story mimicked by the corps this year, in regards to their growth and evolution in the past 11 years. The score gap between Pacific Crest (78.95, 16th), Colts (77.45, 17th) and Troopers (76.35, 18th) widened in comparison to the 1.35 points that separated the trio at the DCI Eastern Classic last weekend. And in their first post-Open Class Championship performance, Oregon Crusaders (75.90, 19th) kept their lead on all other Open Class corps. In their first performance without the Bridgemen Alumni backdrop, Jersey Surf (74.50, 20th) landed ahead of the silver and bronze Open Class-medalists Blue Devils B (73.45, 21st) and Vanguard Cadets (72.95, 22nd).
It was also the first indoor performance for Blue Devils B this season. "I don't think it was too much of an issue," Blue Devils B color guard captain Danelle Porter said. "I think maybe at first it might have caught a couple of people off guard, but besides that I think they handled it very well." She said overall their season has been going well, pushing harder at this time than they have in any other season. With Mandarins (71.70, 23rd) qualifying for the Semifinals once again, it was surely a happy birthday for cymbal player Adrian Sarmiento, who turned 22 on Thursday. "This is my first time ever marching DCI," he said. "I've been marching WGI for a really long time. So being in my age-out, and my bonus year at that, I had to march at least one year."
Blue Devils B
Spartans (69.35, 24th) was the fourth and last Open Class corps to qualify for the Semifinals. Cascades (68.65, 25th) secured 25th place and the last spot in Friday's competition. In their first World Championship performance, Gold (66.35, 26th) missed out on Semifinals by 2.30 points. Their place ahead of 7th Regiment (64.45, 28th) and Genesis (63.50, 29th) was the only change in the rankings from the Open Class Finals two days earlier. It was the last performance of the season for Pioneer (66.20, 27th), and the last performance ever in a junior drum corps for Pioneer age-out Steven Wright. "I've been marching Pioneer for three years, but this is my 13th year doing drum corps," he said. "I marched in a drum corps back in England called Concord Drum and Bugle Corps. And I started in their junior corps 13 years ago."
After his England-based corps folded, he contacted DCI Hall of Fame member Steve Vickers, who let him know about an opening with Pioneer. Wright joined and said he hasn't regretted the decision since. As for his last performance with Pioneer, he said his corps was outstanding, pulling out an amazing performance. "It was just a brilliant experience for everyone," Wright said. "I'm more than happy to have that as my last show." Legends (63.40, 30th), Music City (62.85, 31st) and Raiders (61.05, 32nd) all broke the 60-point barrier on their first time being judged on World Class judging sheets this season. Rounding out the bottom three spots were Colt Cadets (57.95, 33th), Les Stentors (52.75, 34th) and Blue Saints (49.10, 35th). View all scores from this event. View a complete schedule of World Championship events. Contributing to this report: Christina Mavroudis, Jessica Skogh