Saturday dawned with 13 corps ready to go at it at Cal State-Hayward, near the south end of San Francisco Bay. It also brought with it a couple of new competitors to the Weekend of Champions. With 37 years of history behind it, the Santa Clara Vanguard's Pacific Procession has earned its place as one of the premier drum corps shows in the country. With its hilltop location and spectacular view of the south bay, CSU-Hayward also provides one of the more scenic stadiums to in which to watch a show. A nearly cloudless sky and temperatures in the mid-'80s combined to create perfect weather for this classic event. To continue with the Weekend of Champions theme, Pacific Procession would be the gateway to California drum corps competition for past DCI Champion Phantom Regiment. Making its first trip to the West Coast since the early '80s, a buzz and level of excitement that gave the event a championship feel would greet the Midwest powerhouse. With a newly revived, classic, all-white look, the corps made a solid impression on both the audience and rival corps. The corps did not disappoint, as it took home a silver medal (78.10) and found itself closer to the gold medallist Blue Devils (81.85) than anytime since 1997. They also bested bronze medallist and host Santa Clara Vanguard (77.00) by just over one point. Following their performance Phantom Regiment director Pat Seidling described the performance as good, but that it still has a long way to go. "While we may have beaten the Vanguard tonight and been closer to the Blue Devils than in recent years, neither corps is going to roll over. They're both exceptional competitors with great programs and for us to continue to compete we need to be at the top of our game." The Blue Knights (72.95) continue their pursuit to reenter the elite top twelve while the fifth place Seattle Cascades (70.50) work to repeat their top twelve finish from 2002. In hot pursuit, however, were the Mandarins, who finished in sixth place with a 69.35 and Pacific Crest, seventh place with a 67.00. The Troopers rounded out the field of Division I corps with a 59.30. In Division II competition, the Vanguard Cadets (67.60) again bested cross-bay rival Blue Devils "B" (61.15), with first-year Division II corps Fever taking home a Bronze Medal and a score of 54.25. Making their 2003 debut were the San Francisco's Renegades (64.40) who took home the gold in the senior corps division. To cap off a perfect evening of drum corps, the champion Blue Devils graciously passed the privilege of performing an encore to the evening's host, the Santa Clara Vanguard. The largest part of the crowd remained to hear a reprise of the corps "Pathways" program, capped off by the corps' signature, "Send in the Clowns."
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