Wapak Color Guard wins first at fair

A group of girls from the Wapakoneta area screamed and jumped for joy as it was announced that the Wapakoneta Color Guard placed first at the Allen County Fair.
The Wapakoneta High School Color Guard competed against three teams at the Allen County Fair Flag and Baton Competition, which was held at the Allen County Fairgrounds in August.
“It was amazing,” Wapakoneta High School senior Shelby Gonterman said, as they announced her squad receiving the top spot.
Gonterman said that each member on the team was squeezing each others hands as tight as they could as they waited to hear results.
“Our parents took pictures and you could see how excited we were in them,” Gonterman said, after they had heard the big news.
She also said one of the pictures captures one of her teammates in mid-air jumping because she was so excited.
Gonterman said that the other color guards they competed against were very good.
“It was pretty exciting,” junior Rikki Markley said. “I was so excited and surprised. I’m really shocked we did so good.”
“We were really excited,” Markley said. “It was a tough competition.”
The group performed a routine to the Beyonce song, “Crazy in Love,” and they wore their regular red and black uniforms that they wear to games.
At the Allen County Fair, there were two competitions, the Junior and Senior Feature Flag and the Full Guard, which was the one which received top place.
The team also won first place last year, and placed the two years prior.
“We’ve placed every year we went there,” Gonterman said, referring to her freshman through seniors years of competing.
The Wapakoneta Color Guard consists of 13 team members, who have been practicing since July.
“We had two full weeks of camp, and then we practiced every day since then,” Markley said.
Members of the Color Guard, which is under the instruction of Kim Mertz, said they were satisfied with their opening performance of the season at the Allen County Fair.
Along with performing at Wapakoneta High School football games, the group also will perform at the Bath Band Spectacular, the Sidney Invitational and will host their own show at the high school this fall.
Junior Teal Clay said she loves being apart of the color guard and she fell in love with it right away.
“I wanted to join since I was 7,” said Clay, whose cousin helped her to develop an interest.
“I love everything about it,” Clay said.
The three girls said that their favorite part about being apart of the color guard is making new friendships.
Gonterman said she joined because of her cousin, who had taught her some of the routines when she was in eighth-grade, and this benefited her when she joined the team her freshman year.
“The seniors were surprised I knew so much,” Gonterman said.
Markley said she joined because her best friends were trying out.
“I had a love for it right away,” Markley said.
Markley said that when she first joined the team during her eighth-grade year, she said it was scary to perform in front of a large audience.
“Now, I love performing in front of others.”