Yukon winter guard finishes season with history-making achievement

Varsity medals at state competition for first time since program established

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Yukon High School varsity winter guard’s Anne Mare Beck shows the skills that helped propel the team to a history-making third-place finish at WGPO state tournament in Jenks Saturday. It was the first time Yukon has medaled at that level of competition. (Photo by Alan Chapman)

By Traci Chapman
Managing Editor

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

Anastacia Twyman of Yukon junior varsity winter guard team performs during an April 1 showcase. All three of the district’s teams headed the next day to Jenks for state competition. (Photo by Alan Chapman)

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.

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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.

Helen Villalobos-Garcia shines during a middle school winter guard performance just prior to WGPO state competition in Jenks. The middle school team won “excellent” ratings, while varsity made district history by placing 3rd in its division. (Photo by Alan Chapman)

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.

Sydney Sammons demonstrates the grace and artistry of winter guard during a Yukon varsity’s division-winning performance at Southmoore High School. The team again made history Saturday in state competition. (Photo by Traci Chapman)

“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.

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