MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Santa Clara Vanguard extended its win streak to 16 events and regained a lead of more than a point at The Masters of the Summer Music Games presented by Jupiter, Mapex and Majestic Friday night.
Energized by a brand-new ending to its program, “Babylon,” Vanguard (1st, 93.450) earned first-place marks in general effect, total music, total visual, color guard and percussion.
“That was fantastic,” Vanguard drum major Mykal McGrew said. “We had this ending in mind all along, straight from the beginning. It’s just awesome being able to finally throw this out for the fans as the season is coming to a close.”
While the gap between Vanguard and its next two competitors grew at Friday’s event, second and third place were once again airtight. After being separated by just .025 points Monday in Mesquite, Texas, Blue Devils (2nd, 92.400) and Bluecoats (3rd, 92.300) continued their neck-and-neck race.
The Concord corps found its advantage in the visual captions and percussion, but fell to its competitor from Canton in general effect and brass. While the Blue Devils have won all but one head-to-head meeting between the two, the Bluecoats haven’t trailed by more than three tenths of a point in the past two weeks.
“This summer, it’s just incredible how good all of the drum corps are, and being so close to Vanguard and the Bluecoats, it’s fun,” Blue Devils assistant drum major Everett Kim said. ”Competition is fun. But at the end of the day we’re just trying to be the best Blue Devils we can.”
Carolina Crown (4th, 91.000) — which also made updates to the final movement of its program, “Beast” — remained within striking distance of the top three. Thanks to a win in the brass caption and a second-place percussion score, Crown took a very close second in total music.
“That was intense, it was awesome,” Crown drum major Elayna Youngson said. “You could absolutely feel the energy of the audience, and then, in turn, the energy from the performers as well.”
Competition between The Cavaliers (5th, 89.325) and Boston Crusaders (6th, 89.050) remained close Friday night. Despite ties in general effect and total music, a lead in total visual allowed the Green Machine to gain a little bit of breathing room over Boston from its lead of just 0.163 in San Antonio.
“It’s absolutely a great feeling,” Cavaliers drum major Hunter Dugie said. “Great crowd tonight. The dudes worked their butts off so I can’t ask for anything more.”
The Cadets (7th, 86.550) kept Blue Knights (8th, 84.675) at arm’s length, building upon their lead of more than a point and a half from San Antonio.
Even so, Blue Knights drum major Daniel Belcher said his corps is feeling confident entering tomorrow’s major regional event in Atlanta. Coming off of three days of rehearsal and a strong showing Thursday in Birmingham, the Denver corps defeated its opponent from Allentown in visual analysis and came dangerously close to doing the same in percussion.
“I’m feeling great after that show,” Blue Knights drum major Daniel Belcher said. “We’re feeling like we’re in a really good spot going into Atlanta. After those three days, and the number we put down last night, we’re feeling really great.”
Rounding out the lineup, Music City (9th, 73.000) shined in front of a hometown crowd. With its result in Murfreesboro, Music City continues to build upon its strong debut season as a World Class corps, with about three points separating the Nashville corps from its all-time record of 76.213, set near the end of last season.
“Our group is growing, more people are looking into us, finding out more about us, more people are hearing our names,” Music City drum major Scott Smith said. “So, it feels really good to be at our home show where the crowd loves us. The energy is electric.”
All nine corps from Friday’s event will be headed to Atlanta for the highly-anticipated DCI Southeastern Championship presented by Lone Star Percussion at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.