The Mlllville High School Indoor Guard recently took home the title at the Tournament Indoor Association (TIA) Atlantic Coast Championships. The team of 11 students, including two 8th grade students from Maurice River Township, had been honing their routine since November 2022.
“These kids are incredible,” said Director John Rilley of the color guard team, at a special celebratory performance at Millville High School on May 8, “they worked so hard and so diligently this past season.”
The MHS Indoor Guard team currently operates as an after-school club. Riley has worked with Millville High School for 10 years as the director of the Outdoor Guard and has spent the past five years at the helm of the Indoor Guard. Students spend the fall season on the Outdoor Guard team, performing alongside the Marching Bolts marching band, which not only takes the spotlight during Varsity football games, but competes on the Tournament of Bands (TOB) circuit and NJMBDA circuit.
During the winter season, they change gears to competitively perform on the TIA circuit without the accompaniment of the band. For the 2022-2023 season, both groups emerged with championship titles.
According to Rilley, while last year the Indoor team presented a jazz-themed performance, this year he decided to move in a different direction by choosing a rendition of Amazing Grace by the acapella group Pentatonix. This choice resulted in an emotional performance by the students that incorporated props including flags, sabers, rifles, and lengths of chain.
It was this performance that earned the Indoor team 1st place at the Region 1 Championships at Eastern Regional High School in April with a score of 94.2. The team would then go on to compete against 50 other color guard teams in the three-day TIA Atlantic Coast Championship series in Wildwood earlier this month, including school programs across New Jersey and neighboring states. On the final day of the competition, they emerged TIA Scholastic Region Champions with a nearly perfect score of 97.34.
“It’s not about a score, it’s about a performance,” says Rilley. It’s safe to say that the team delivered on both those counts.
Members of the 2023 championship Indoor Guard team: Jose Bravo, Katelyn Ciaurelli, Chloe Cosgrove, Ashley Costa, Rylee Dare, Teahnni Goodwin, Camryn Guy, Madison Hannah, Dafne Moran, Jesus Perez, and Amelia Sooy.