Winter guard wins state championship


Winter guard has only been around for a year and is already winning championships.

In October of 2013, Laura Coan went to the recreation center to start an Oakland University Winter Guard club sport.

The team had their very first practice Feb. 15, 2014.

A little over a year later, on March 28, 2015, the OU winter guard became state champions.

They competed in the MCGC Independent A division. There were seven other teams competing in their division and over 160 teams in attendance. The divisions are decided by skill level. OU competed against the University of Michigan and a few local high schools, but came out on top and was crowned MCGC Independent A State Champions.

The success may have happened quick, but it certainly did not happen easily for the team, who calls themselves “Perseverance” for a very good reason. For president and vice president, Laura Coan and Kellie Gossman, it took plenty of work just to be able to compete. They have poured countless hours, vast effort and immeasurable passion into this club sport.

“When you go to competitions you pick a name for your team,” Coan said. “We were trying to think of what we we’re going to go by all summer long and we’re like, well, what’s something that really means something to us? Perseverance.”

The team has had to learn how to work with what they have. Often times, they had to get creative and overcome major obstacles just to be able to practice.

“When our instructor first met us we were practicing outside the civic center and it was just after daylight saving time, so it got dark at 7:30. So we were practicing in headlights in a muddy field,” Gossman recalled.

The winter guard also had to overcome obstacles for their first performance.

“The first thing we ever did we did for Rugby last year and we didn’t have speakers so we did it out of our friend’s car and we blew out the speakers,” Coan said, laughing.

It never came easy for OUWG, but they persevered and success soon followed. Coan thinks a lot of it came from meeting Steve Swetich.

“I think we fell into the right hands,” Coan said on the explanation for their early success. Swetich was able to introduce them to the people and they found great instructors that choreographed a state championship routine.

Both Coan and Gossman are going to have trouble saying goodbye to this club sport they’ve poured their hearts into. They said they don’t want to leave without knowing it’s in good hands. Winning a state championship should send the club in the right direction.

“A lot of people loved our show and loved what we we’re doing. [Becoming] state champions got our names out their more, but even as it was, people want to be us now,” Coan said.