Expanding Horizons: Sophomore becomes first boy on color guard team in over 20 years

It’s Friday night and sophomore Jonas Walther stands on the field, his face proud. Wearing a sequined tunic, he waves the red and black flag high above his head as the color guard begins its routine.

Walther first joined the team this past year, following in the footsteps of his older sister Katarina. It marks the first year that the guard has been co-ed since 1994.

While at first Walther was hesitant to join the team, he said that the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I’ve been shown an immense amount of support from Mr. Engelhardt and Mr. Ramsey, and it also helps that Katarina’s done it, so the team was really welcoming to me, and I’ve made some great friends,” Walther said.

Senior member of the guard Sydney See is a big supporter of the switch that the guard program has put into effect this year. “We love and embrace having a male in our guard. Having both genders present shows that anyone can be a part of this awesome group, and that it’s not just meant for ladies. Just because we may be twirling flags doesn’t mean that only a specific gender can do it,” See said.

Each day the color guard devotes the first 15 minutes of power hour to perfecting its routine, working to synchronize with the marching band, and on Tuesday and Thursday evenings the guard gathers outside of school to practice new maneuvers. Many may not realize it, but a lot of hard work is put into the preparation for the halftime show that is put on every Friday night and the contest that the guard will be competing in this upcoming October. While there’s a lot to learn, Walther said he doesn’t let it get him or the rest of the team down.

“It’s not so bad because we want to learn everything that we can, so we practice a lot,” Walther said with a shrug. In fact, most days he and the guard take their flags home to practice on their own at night.

And all that hard work definitely pays off. Each home football game, the guard takes the field at halftime to show off its perfected routine.

“I love how it all flows together in the end. It’s kind of like dancing, and I really like the movement of it and how it can just feel so smooth,” Walther said.

Not everything about color guard is graceful, though. Walther recalls taking a tumble on the first game of the year.

“I have to wear jazz shoes, and we have to run really fast, and they’re kind of slippery on the bottom, so I just slipped on the field and face planted,” Walther said with a laugh.

He doesn’t let the small stumble dampen his spirits though. Instead, Walther encourages others to step out of their comfort zones and try something new too.

“I would definitely say, just try it, and if you don’t like it, you’ll know, but it’s good to try anyway because otherwise you’ll never know if you don’t like it. I didn’t try many things in my junior high years, and then last year I started to, and it was the first time I’d ever done a school sport, and I really liked it, so this year I’m trying to do as many new things as I can just to see what I like because I don’t really know yet,” Walther said.

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