They have been named “Champions” once again.
On Saturday, March 30 a total of 20 Oakdale Junior High School Color Guard students defended their title as the 2019 Scholastic Junior High A Class Champions. A second time win for the team comprised of seventh and eighth graders and led by longtime coach Danesa Menge.
With a fair share of OJHS veterans leading the charge, the team was able to secure a first place victory over three other valley schools. This rounds out their season with a total of four first place showings and one fourth place win. The event was hosted at Enochs High School.
“We took fourth out of eight, which was incredibly good,” team co-captain Teryn Holcomb said of their first competition and only loss in February.
As an after school elective, the team began meeting twice a week for three hours at a time last September. Practices continue on through competition which begins in February and typically ends by the end of March. In some instances, Saturday practices are held as well.
“It’s a long haul,” Menge said of the work put in before actually demonstrating the skills via competition. She noted that while the team may have started the year a bit rough, the initial competition rectified the challenges rather quickly.
“At the beginning of the year, we were kind of a mess. We weren’t focusing or coming together,” team veteran and eighth grader Zoey Buchanan shared. Acknowledging her own contribution to this problem, the eighth grader shifted her focus. “Being one of the vets, I realized I should be setting the example for the seventh graders.”
It was a shift which several of her teammates embraced as well and in so doing altered the course of the team’s competitive year.
“I love performing and the team aspect that comes with it,” Teryn stated, adding that for her guard is a family affair, as she’s followed the footsteps of both her mother, as well as older sister.
Fellow co-captain Isabella Padilla was challenged to split her time during the school year between Color Guard and the OJHS Cheer Team. A decision she shared she does not regret and was grateful to both coaches for working with her so that she could do both.
“They’re just like family,” Isabella said of the two teams, “so leaving them would make me sad.”
“It feels pretty good,” Zoey said of the Championship win, “because we worked hard for it.”
“People think it’s easy. They think it’s just like waving flags around,” she continued. “It comes from the Army. You have to be strong and persistent with everything.”
Teryn echoed her teammates’ sentiments, sharing she didn’t know what she would do if she didn’t do guard.
The trio shared that while they felt they had done well during the competition a repeat win was not on their radar. Watching another team warm up, they felt they may have met their match this year. As the previous week winner, they were assigned last to perform in the Championship competition.
“There’s a lot of pressure when you’re last, because that means you won last week,” Menge said.
“I knew that we did good, so I wasn’t totally surprised,” Zoey confided. “I was happy though, since we won two years in a row and three of our coaches never got a medal when they were in guard.”
The 2019 Coaching and Performing OJHS Color Guard Team are:
Coaches: Danesa Menge, Claudia Vargas, Taylor Nardello, Amanda Lyon and Jessica Morris.
Team members: ReeAnn Worley, Starla Masquart, Lindsey Mota, Roslyn Scott, Brianna Perry, Serenity Davis, Aleeza Aguilera, Ella Wilson, Sally Muharreb, Kylie Collins, Isabella Padilla, Zoey Buchanan, Teryn Holcomb, Haley Perez, Leslie Victorino, Hailey Parker, Holly Waddell, Faith Hofer, Audrey Beltran and Holly Wright.