By Traci Chapman
In a season of history-making achievements, Yukon varsity winter guard seemed to save the best for last, as the team took third place in state competition Saturday – with a performance that nearly garnered a second-place finish.
Varsity’s April 2 rendition of its 2022 program, “Cathedrals,” at Winter Guard and Percussion of Oklahoma’s state competition in Jenks was the team’s best of the season, director Hailie Eaves said – and earned Yukon 87.640 points, less than half a point behind second-place Owasso.
Fellow Canadian County team Mustang took the top honors in Scholastic A with a score of 89.480.
It was the first time in program history a Yukon team medaled in state competition, Eaves said. It was also a tremendous achievement for a young team that came up against
powerhouse teams like Owasso and Mustang, but also Jenks, Tulsa Union and Edmond Memorial.
“We are super proud of all of our kids and how well the represented Yukon throughout the season,” Eaves said. “Over half of our students were brand new and they exceeded our expectations.”
While Yukon junior varsity came in 14th in its division – Scholastic Regional A – it did so in a field of 20 teams and against much more seasoned competitors that included Muskogee, Edmond North, Westmoore and Jenks, among others.
Yukon JV’s final score was 73.190, just shy of the 74.340 posted by Mustang Cadets; Piedmont JV took 12th, while Muskogee High School won state with a total of 83.070 points.
One of the biggest surprises in the competition – something that’s become commonplace this year – was the team that captured the number two spot in Scholastic A. That distinction belonged to Okarche High School, which in 2022 for the very first time put a winter guard team into competition.
For its middle school performance, Yukon was given an “excellent” rating – the best possible and a testament to the program’s strength moving forward, officials said.
Varsity’s state medal was not the first history-making achievement of the 2022 winter guard season – just a few weeks ago the team took first in its division at WGPO’s Southmoore competition.
The WGPO divisional win was the first for Yukon in an in-person contest, at least in recent memory – if not in the program’s history, Eaves said. The team also took first place in its division in the WGPO Bartlesville contest in February, but that was entered virtually.
Yukon High School’s varsity winter guard also made history March 5 when they for the first time made finals at Winter Guard International competition.
The WGI event, held at Tulsa Union High School, featured a host of heavy hitters – some of whom fell short of Yukon’s 77.47-point seventh place after finals competition. The team came one place after Mustang High School varsity, which earned 78.120 points.
Not only was the 7th place finish a first for Yukon winter guard, just making finals at the WGI tournament was a history-making accomplishment, officials said. Diana Williams, Yukon director of bands, was on hand to witness that achievement and said she was incredibly proud of the hard work and skill demonstrated by the school’s varsity team.
“They did an amazing job – we are so, so proud of all they have done this year,” she said.
Yukon’s guard staff and students didn’t have much rest after Saturday’s contest – they began Monday with auditions for color guard in preparation for next year’s marching band program.