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North Putnam Cadet Guard competing at regionals

Friday, March 12, 2010

North Putnam seventh-grader Kaitlin Mindiola practices with the North Putnam Middle School Cadet Guard. Mindiola is one of 16 NPMS students in the guard, which will travel to Center Grove High School Saturday for divisional competition. [Order this photo]
ROACHDALE -- The 16 young women who make up the North Putnam Middle School Cadet Guard began the season on a quest for gold.

Now that they have it, they are hoping to add even more impressive honors to their resumé.

The guard has been in existence for only two years, and only four members have been in it for both years. They have performed their 3-minute, 45-second routine, "Emerald Forest," in four contests this season. They have earned three silver ratings and their first-ever gold rating.

Those wins have earned the Cadet Guard a spot in Saturday's divisional competition at Center Grove.

The guard is directed by Brianna Bullerdick Pinson, a South Putnam graduate who was the featured twirler when she attended Indiana State University.

Pinson was asked by North Putnam band director John Pinson to get the guard going. She is assisted by Jeff McKinney, North Putnam High School's Winter Guard director and former North Putnam Winter Guard member and NPHS graduate Kristen Mindiola.

"Emerald Forest" is filled with woodland creatures, monsters, wind, trees and leaves. At one point in the show, several members put what look like body-sized pillow cases on and dance with their entire bodies -- including their faces -- covered.

The guard practices for two hours twice a week. As divisional competition has neared, they have been practicing for longer periods.

"We've added a lot of extra elements," Pinson said. "This year we have a backdrop and they dance with masks on."

Pinson said the hope is that members of the Cadet Guard will go on to Winter Guard in high school.

"These are the building blocks," she said. "Here, they can really learn the fundamentals."

Seventh-grader Kaitlin Mindiola, a second-year guard member, said receiving the gold rating was a thrill.

"I felt like we had worked really hard to get it," she said.

The size of the guard is double what it was last year. Mindiola said keeping 16 girls together as they dance and twirl flags can be a challenge.

"It's frustrating at times," she said. "But it's worth it. With more girls, we can make the show more interesting."

Mindiola feels good about the show, noting that the musical changes give her and her fellow guard members a chance to show their diversity.

"You get to be angry, but also happy and smiley, too," she said.

Sixth-grader Jenna Gaddis said being in the guard was "really fun."

"The hard work really pays off," she said. "Since I was really little, like maybe in kindergarten, I've wanted to do flags. I'd watch it on TV and see the high schoolers do it."

Gaddis said she was very excited about divisional competition.

"It kind of gives me an adrenaline rush," she said.

Eighth-grader Mary Claire Owen is in her first -- and last -- season with the Cadet Guard.

"It sounded like fun, and it's good exercise," she said. "I like the teamwork."

She is fond of the "Emerald Forest" show.

"It's something that no one else has," she said. "The beginning is really cool."

Owen plans on continuing on to high school guard.

"I'm definitely going on," she said. "I'm going to miss Cadet Guard, though. It's been a really good way to start."

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can the banner graphic please get this story right...Brianna did not graduate from South Putnam.

-- Posted by girlmd on Fri, Mar 12, 2010, at 8:34 AM

Good job girls! We are so proud of you!

-- Posted by adfan211 on Fri, Mar 12, 2010, at 9:52 AM

Great job girls...good luck to the team tomorrow.

-- Posted by floyd'srangerriders on Fri, Mar 12, 2010, at 9:55 AM

One wonders if this program will survive the budget cuts.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Fri, Mar 12, 2010, at 11:35 AM


-- Posted by 1stamendrights on Fri, Mar 12, 2010, at 12:42 PM

Unlike sports, the guard has to pay fees and ask for donations, it's not a free ride like athletics. The budget cuts shouldn't affect the guard since it's not supported financially by the school.

-- Posted by dandygrandy on Sat, Mar 13, 2010, at 7:14 AM

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