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A loaded slate of color guards—most of which hail from the Lone Star State—is set to take center-stage at the WGI Southwest Power Regional in Denton, Texas this weekend.
Across two venues—The Coliseum at the University of North Texas will serve as the show’s hub, while Scholastic ‘A’ groups will take over nearby Lewisville High School — over the span of 48 hours, competitive storylines abound in what will be one of the deepest color guard lineups of the year heading into April’s WGI World Championships.
First look at Texas IW elites
According to WGI.org’s predictive standings feature, four of the Independent World groups competing in this weekend’s power regional project as WGI finalists.
Okay... so, you have our attention.
That quartet—CGT Dallas, Cypress Independent, Black Gold, and CGT Denton— is no stranger to the Top 15. All four reached finals last season; the first three did so in Independent World, while CGT Denton took second place in Independent Open.
Invictus, which will also take the floor in Denton this weekend and finished 22nd in last year’s IW semifinals, currently is projected for a Top 20 finish.
Those five Texas powers will be joined by Louisiana’s Lake Area Independent, which kicks off the Independent World Class competition at 4:50 PM CT.
Marquee rematch in Scholastic Open
Just two weeks ago, a small handful of Scholastic Open groups from Texas competed at the WGI Austin regional. Six of them are back for this weekend’s event in Denton and will be joined by 10 other Open Class guards to form a strong list of competitors.
In Austin, it was McNeil which took first place by a sound margin of 2.2 points over the rest of the field. Dripping Springs (81.100) and Little Elm (81.000) weren’t too far off and will be looking to break their deadlock this weekend.
If WGI’s standings are any indicator, those three groups project as the top three in this weekend’s competition—all rank among the national top six, and their next closest competitor for the upcoming show, Eden Prairie, currently sits at 12th—but that doesn’t mean anything is set in stone.
McNeil’s second-place overall ranking carries over from a fourth-place finish in 2018. But on top of the aforementioned elite Open Class groups, McNeil will be joined this weekend by fellow 2018 WGI finalists Eastlake (5th) and Klein Oak (18th).
Scholastic A free-for-all
There are so many groups competing in this weekend’s SA prelims that, not only do they get their own venue, they get an extra semifinal round of competition.
By the end of the two-day scramble, 46 preliminary competitors (starting Saturday at 9:00 AM CT) will be narrowed into 25 semifinalist positions (starting Saturday at 6:30 PM CT) and 13 finalist positions (beginning Sunday morning).
So, it’s impossible to know who’s going to emerge from all of that wreckage. Nonetheless, some highlights:
- Pflugerville currently projects as a Top 5 Scholastic A ensemble, and will likely be one of the headliners of this weekend’s event. The ensemble didn’t compete at last year’s World Championships but will be doing so this coming April, so the Denton event should be a good read on what to expect.
- Aside from Pflugerville, a pair of other groups at this weekend's show currently project as potential contenders for a finalist position. The most likely candidates, Southlake Carrol (10th) and Winston Churchill (21st), also didn’t compete at last year’s World Championships.
- The only returning finalist in the Denton event, Keller, has yet to record a score on the WGI 2019 campaign, so it’ll be intriguing to see where they fall into this weekend’s scores. Keller earned sixth-place in SA last year with a score of 94.475.