West color guard takes new approach this winter

Tiffany Domingo, Reporter/Video Yearbook Liaison

This year Bellevue West hired a new color guard director and a few winter guard assistant directors. Each plan to execute a specific new direction in an overall goal to improve the program.

New Bellevue West color guard director, David Baker, took over during the marching band season this past fall. He marched in the Blue Stars drum corps for five years and was the assistant director to the former guard director, Julie Hadley. Baker has been mentoring color guard for five years since he graduated from Millard South High School in 2014.

There will be four teams in this year’s season of winter guard: Varsity, Junior Varsity, Gold, and Novice. Baker will be designing the show for all four teams, but will only be coaching Varsity and Novice.

“This year I want to push the limit as far as what we can do with our equipment and what we can do with our body form,” Baker said. “Everyone [in varsity] will be on equipment in the show, [which] is something we have never done before.”

West 2016 graduate Alycia Cain will be running the junior varsity team. She has been mentoring guard at West ever since she graduated. As someone who won the Scholastic A  Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championship, one of her goals is to lead her team to WGI finals at Worlds.

“Last season the JV team didn’t make semis,” Cain said. “It was a really tough season [but] I want to teach them that hard work pays off. No matter how you place in the end, as long as you did your best, that’s what matters.”

Paige Haskins, who graduated from Bellevue East and marched with Baker in Blue Stars Drum Corps, is running the freshman Gold team.

“I want them to feel confident with, not only themselves and what they’re capable of, but confident in what us as coaches are going to do with them,” Haskins said. “I don’t want them to have to question whether we’re doing the right thing. I want them to trust the process.”

Senior Roxy Muela made the varsity winter guard group for the third year in a row. From experiencing both Hadley and Baker as coaches, her goal remains the same — to make WGI Worlds finals.

“This year we have a different coach so it’s going to be a different style and different way of doing it,” Muela said. “We’re going to have to work on team bonding, fighting, and having motivation through the entire season.”

According to Baker, West guard is known for their performance aspect and being able to put on a show. But the new director plans to push the limits as far as possible to be able to reach their goal in making finals.

“We’re going to do a lot of fundamentals [and] establish a foundation of training,” Baker said. “This year we are going to focus a lot on our equipment skills and movement details.”

Baker has a three-year plan with West. He is hoping in his third year that the varsity team moves from Open Class to World Class in WGI.

“I’m really excited to premiere a new era of Bellevue West guard,” Baker said. “We already did that with the fall [season], and people could not believe how different the program looked.”

Graphic courtesy of Bellevue West Winterguards.