OHS color guard scores gold at state

The Odessa High School Winter Guard picked up its second gold medal in two years at the North Texas Color Guard Association competition at Coppell High School April 1 and Director Hector Guerrero is looking to build on that success next year.
“They’re all ninth, 10th and 11th graders, so it’s going to be a powerhouse, too, for next year. I cannot wait,” said Guerrero, who is in his 16th year as guard director.
Winter Guard is part of fall marching season. In the fall, students march with the marching band, but during the winter season, it’s just color guard, he said. The group from Odessa High School had nine members and they competed against groups from bigger schools with 16 or 24 members, Guerrero said.
He added that OHS also has a floor crew of 10 students that travels with the guard to set up equipment. The floor crew has to keep a certain schedule, otherwise the guard could be penalized, Guerrero said.
“We perform music of any kind … that we want to do that should last around four minutes and 30 seconds, or a little bit more,” Guerrero said.
The theme the guard used this year was “My Father’s Chair,” which was dedicated to all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles and others who have died. Guerrero said it was a way to honor them.
The color guard has been participating in state competition for six or seven years.
“They have won many awards in the past,” he said. “They got bumped up from Regional A to Scholastic A, which we’re in now. We won last year’s title for the second year in the row. This is our second year winning a gold medal. … That being said, we are now promoted to the next level, which is the National A level.”
The designation means they can compete in World Guard International competitions, the big one being in Dayton, Ohio, this week. Guerrero said the OHS guard qualified, but lacked the funds to take part. He hopes to do so next year.
In Dayton, he said they would go against groups from around the country and world.
The guard began training in November, Guerrero said, but started working with show designer Junior Marquez in December. Music selection started in July.
Guerrero said he thought his students’ performance was “amazing.” He added that color guard is more than just flags; it’s a sport that takes a long time to learn and requires hard work and dedication.
“I thought their performance was absolutely beautiful,” he said. “They’ve grown a lot.”
Fifteen-year-old sophomore and captain Alexandra Salazar said it was a hard season at first because the students had a hard time unlocking the emotion they needed for the show.
“The day of the performance, we all had a really long talk about what the show meant to us and it was really emotional for everyone. But I feel like that’s what really unlocked our performance and caused it to be so amazing. We all walked off the floor crying. It was great,” Salazar said.
She added that OHS was one of the last performers and they didn’t watch any other schools because they didn’t want to psych themselves out.
Fifteen-year-old freshman Victoria Sanchez said she enjoys being part of the color guard because they’re like family.
Kaylee Duran, a 14-year-old freshman, said her brother was on the floor crew and went with him to shows.
“The feeling you get when you watch these shows from another perspective is amazing,” Duran said.
Of winning the gold medal, Duran said, “I cried. I cried so much.”
Alex Serrano, an assistant director and guard technician, said it’s nice to know Odessa can represent itself well on the statewide stage.
“We’re from little West Texas. Nobody knows where Odessa is. We go with the Metroplexes that win BOA (Bands of America) and go to grand nats and get second and first and then knowing that we’re up to par with the color guard, that’s really nice to know,” Serrano said.
Fundraising for next year’s winter guard season is starting, Guerrero said.
“Our main goal for next year is to compete in the WGI (Winter Guard International) circuits. Those trips are (to) San Antonio, Oklahoma, Houston (and) Austin. The main championship will be in Dayton, Ohio, next year in April, so if anybody is willing to start the process of getting any kind of donations, we would greatly appreciate it. They can email me at the school, or they can call the band hall,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero’s email is hector.guerrero@ectorcountyisd.org and the band hall number is 432-456-2026.
Guard members include Alexyss Mesa, 15, ninth grade; Brenda Hughes, 15, ninth grade; Cayla Crews, 15, sophomore; Alexandra Salazar, 15, sophomore; Kaylee Duran, 14, ninth grade; Gabriela Rojas, 16, junior; Victoria Sanchez, 15, ninth grade; Jorge Lopez, 16, ninth grade; and Jomadi Navarro, 16, sophomore.
Assistant directors are Georgina Sanchez, Alex Serrano and Justin Madrid.