Marching Woodmen win State runner-up

Heart beating, mind racing, palms sweating, the mesmerized marcher looks beyond shining plumes into a cheering crowd as he takes his first steps onto the Lucas Oil turf ready to perform at State Finals.

Last Saturday, the Marching Woodmen earned State runner-up at ISSMA State Finals, finishing just behind Plainfield High School.

“I am very excited about the performance we had. I think it’s awesome that we placed as high as we did,” Mr. John Morse, director of bands, said. “It all started last year at Semi-State when the results were not the results we wanted. As a group, we decided that we weren’t going to take that. We kind of worked with a chip on our shoulder and ended up coming back. The journey went from that moment all the way through the planning process of marching band with our staff and all the way through the leadership work with the students to where we are today. It’s that unyielding work ethic that this program is built on. I’m so ecstatic about our kids’ performance.”

Senior Kameron Buennagel, drum major, said he felt better about this season’s results, considering that the band did not advance to State last year.

“I’m just happy that we made it and that we had a good run,” Buennagel said. “The results compared to last year are obviously a little better and a little easier to swallow. I don’t think there were any blatant wrong-doings this year, and we got what we deserved. Of course, I would’ve liked to win, but I will take second any day. It’s been an incredible experience.”

The Marching Woodmen were ready to take on Lucas Oil Stadium.

“While I was performing, I got really hyped. I got really happy, and I was really confident in my performance, which that left me with no regrets,” junior Hunter Ross said. “I realized I knew what I was doing; there was no reason for me to be worried about the tarp or about someone slipping or falling. I’d marched it a million times, I knew what I was doing and so did everyone else there. We’ve all worked really hard this season, which made me love being a Marching Woodman even more.”

Ross initially had mixed emotions about the placing of their performance.

“I didn’t know how to feel at first because I was sad that we didn’t get first, but I was happy that we placed well,” Ross said. “I think I kind of resolved my emotions on the bus ride because everyone was in a really good mood, so I’m happy. I’m just really happy.”

Alumni supported the Marching Woodmen throughout the season, cheering them on from the stands and from their seats in downtown Indianapolis.

“I was really worried,” graduate Holly Hayes said. “I came to Semi-State this year, and I drove an hour and a half from college and went to Semi-State, feeling so sick because I was so worried. I was like, ‘I know they’re doing really well this year, but after last year, I feel like anything could happen.’ When I was watching State from the stands, I couldn’t breathe when they got to announcing the top five bands. I reverted back to the tradition we have where we put our right arm over our left and look down at the ground. I’m so proud of them; to come back that much is really great, and I’m really proud of them.”

The Marching Woodmen pride themselves on their hard work.

“I am very happy about the performance; it was a great performance,” Director Donald Kalugyer said. “It’s great to be back at Lucas Oil Stadium where I feel like we belong, and second place was great. There are eight other bands who would’ve loved to have our number. I think everyone just had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder this season. Our students always work really well and get more focused as the season progresses. It says a lot to what the dedication of our students is. We don’t validate ourselves with what the judges put down as our score, but by how well we work together to make a product.”

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