INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Santa Clara Vanguard put itself within one victory of its first World Championship title since 1999, with a resounding lead over the remaining field of 25 corps at the DCI World Championship Semifinals presented by Earasers & InEarz Audio.

 1. Santa Clara Vanguard » 98.263
 2. Blue Devils » 96.750
 3. Bluecoats » 96.588

Vanguard swept all captions except for color guard and defeated Blue Devils by a season-high margin of 1.5 points. The Santa Clara corps held a lead of 0.675 — close to half of its total margin of a point in general effect.

“It’s just like the beginning,” Vanguard drum major Mykal McGrew said. “Each day, we go back and start anew, we’re going to wake up in the morning, we’ve still got work to do, we’ve still got improvement to be made, and we’re just going to go out there and throw down, like we always do.”

View all scores from the DCI World Championship Semifinals

Bluecoats made a major push Friday night, finishing less than two tenths below the Blue Devils, which marks the closest the two have been since .075 separated them July 20 in Katy, Texas.

The Canton corps defeated its opponent from Concord in general effect and color guard.

“We just want to stay on the gas until the end,” Bluecoats drum major Samuel Crawford said. “We’re going to get up tomorrow, we’re going to get a little bit of rehearsal in and just make sure we’re absolutely ready to come in here and lay down one of the greatest recordings ever.”

Boston CrusadersBoston Crusaders
 4. Carolina Crown » 95.475
 5. Boston Crusaders » 94.588
 6. The Cavaliers » 93.537

Carolina Crown kept its distance from Boston Crusaders and The Cavaliers, scoring as high as second place in brass and total music while scoring third in percussion.

“That was a phenomenal performance that we just had,” Carolina Crown drum major Michael St. Ores said. “Compared to yesterday, yesterday was good, but today the energy was really high, and I think the crowd attributed to that as well, they were awesome tonight.”

Led by a first-place color guard, Boston Crusaders held a lead of more than a point lead over The Cavaliers, and will be in search of its first top-five finish since 2002 in Saturday night’s Finals.

Blue StarsBlue Stars
 7. The Cadets » 91.862
 8. Blue Stars » 90.475
 9. Blue Knights » 89.037

With their Friday night result, The Cadets already surpassed their final score from 2017. The Allentown corps once again garnered an electric audience reaction with the deployment of its iconic Z-Pull drill maneuver.

“I just love The Cadets so much,” drum major Claire Albrecht said. “We’ve put in a tremendous amount of work, and I think it really paid off. I mean, heck yeah, I’ll take another one, but that was a pretty great run.”

Read more about Claire Albrecht’s drum corps legacy

Blue Knights held off Mandarins by about four tenths of a point, while defeating Blue Stars in total music.

“It felt awesome, it felt really awesome,” Blue Knights drum major Daniel Belcher said. “Super strong run for us, high energy. I love the Semifinals crowd, we’re feeling really good coming out of it.”

 10. Mandarins » 88.662
 11. Phantom Regiment » 87.700
 12. Crossmen » 87.250

Friday night was a night for firsts for the Mandarins, who earned their very first trip as a World Class corps to the DCI World Championship Finals, while also defeating Phantom Regiment head-to-head for the first time in their 55-year history.

Read more about Mandarins first-ever Finals bid

Having spent most of the season in a Top 12 position, the Sacramento corps rode its strong visual scores to new heights with Friday night’s result.

“That was a great run, that was even better than last night,” Mandarins drum major Kiri Guldner said. “Last night was good, but that was better. Hopefully, that’s the trend.”

Crossmen made an impressive push into DCI World Championships weekend, ultimately earning the final spot in the Top 12 by a comfortable margin.

At times this season, the likes of Spirit of Atlanta and The Academy have been within half a point or less of the Crossmen, but the San Antonio corps clinched its fifth consecutive Finals bid thanks to outstanding scores in the visual captions.

“It was one of the most energetic performances we had,” said Crossmen drum major Randall Hymes. “I loved it. I love this show, and I love these people. Getting a chance to perform it this time and tomorrow, it’s an honor.”

The AcademyThe Academy
 13. Spirit of Atlanta » 85.588
 14. Colts » 84.613
 15. The Academy » 84.563

While Spirit finished 1.662 points shy of its first trip to the Finals since 2013, the Atlanta corps was one of 2018’s most improved. In terms of improvements in overall placement, no corps saw a bigger jump than Spirit of Atlanta, pushing from 21st in 2016, to 18th in 2017, to 13th this season.

The corps’ standout music scores once again shined in its season finale; Spirit defeated Crossmen in percussion and brass.

“That was completely electric,” Spirit drum major Aidan Lerner said. “Everybody is just pumped beyond belief for what’s going on here.”

For the first time this season, Colts overcame The Academy by just five hundredths of a point, thanks most notably to impressive scores in the visual caption.

The Colts, who have turned heads competitively throughout this season, improved upon their 2017 final score by more than half a point.

“I thought they gave it all today,” Colts drum major Jack Riehl said. “They’ve pushed through every single last thing that happened this season. They had to push through a tremendous amount of adversity this summer.”

 16. Madison Scouts » 83.050
 17. Troopers » 81.787
 18. Vanguard Cadets » 81.025

Madison Scouts put the finishing touches on their 2018 season with Friday’s performance, holding a strong lead over Troopers with standout scores in brass.

“The brotherhood is really strong this year,” Scouts drum major Nathan Czech said. “We just leaned on each other and we worked really hard, I’m very proud of my corps.”

Troopers wrapped up a memorable anniversary season in Friday’s Semifinals by improving upon its 2017 final score by about half of a point. For the second year in a row, Troopers jumped ahead of Vanguard Cadets after having fallen to the Santa Clara corps in Thursday’s Prelims.

For drum major Gabe Gallegos, the 2017 recipient of the Jim Jones Leadership Award, Friday marked an emotional end to his eight-year career in the Casper corps.

“That was exactly how you’d imagine it to be,” Gallegos said. “Tears from the moment stepping on the field. I never thought I’d be here eight years ago, being able to stand in front of my family and cry in front of them and have them cry right back. It’s just been a dream.”

Pacific CrestPacific Crest
 19. Blue Devils B » 80.037
 20. Pacific Crest » 79.300
 21. Music City » 78.175
 22. Oregon Crusaders » 77.100

Music City put the finishing touches on its first season as a World Class organization, one that saw the Nashville corps set a record-high placement and score.

According to age-out drum major Jeremiah Wooten, 2018 was a formative year for his corps’ bright future.

“It’s been a huge season of growth,” Wooten said. “Every aspect of the organization has been stretched in new ways that we would’ve never imagined. Everyone has grown in a way to meet those new expectations and the new standards. It’s been awesome to see that growth from everyone.”

 23. Gold » 75.425
 24. Genesis » 74.475
 25. Spartans » 74.250

Gold’s 23rd-place finish marked the highest final placement the San Diego corps has ever received, having made its debut as a Semifinalist at Friday’s event.

Spartans — which had another close call getting into the Top 25 after outscoring the 26th-place Legends by just .012 in the Prelims — closed its season by finishing just over two tenths behind Genesis.

Spartans tied with the Austin, Texas corps in general effect and held a lead of half a point in total visual.

“That’s the last time we’re ever going to put that on the field together as a group. It wasn’t a perfect run, but that was the best that we could possibly do,” Spartans drum major Emily Dawson said. “It was fun, and it was family-oriented, and it was together. I’m just ecstatic, I’m off the walls.”