Kaylee Eckelman – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS sophomore Alicia Torres placed fourth in the world in the Winter Guard International (WGI) Championships, a nation-wide competition for highly skilled indoor wind instrumental, color guard, and percussion groups.

torres with flute
LRHS sophomore Alicia Torres performs with Horizon Winds.

“I am very happy that I was given this opportunity to compete in such a big competition,” Torres said. “Though the competition was fun, we were only a few points off from making it to finals.”

Torres’ team is a member of the Horizon Winds group, a performing arts association that requires auditions.

“Our team is based in Auburndale, Florida,” Torres said. “We practiced at Sarasota High School, but the group has different people from different schools so there are people from Northport, Braden River, and Lakewood Ranch High School all together as the same group. We have practiced every weekend since December for this competition.”

Though not placing as high as she would have liked, Torres still was able to make lasting memories with new people.

“In the beginning of the competition I was definitely more timid because I did not know anyone. I began to come out of my shell as the trip went on and everyone was able to bond with each other,” Torres said. “This made our overall show better because we were able to interact with each other in front of the audience well.”

This opportunity was three and a half years in the making as Torres began playing the flute in seventh grade. Torres played only for the school band until this opportunity to compete on this team came up.

“I was nervous for the competition because I had played mellophone for Marching Mustangs here, but I haven’t really marched with a flute, so I had to kind of relearn how to march it during practices,” Torres continued. “It wasn’t hard, but it took a lot of practice”

Though her team was only points away from placing higher, Torres is still grateful for her experience at this competition.

“I have definitely improved as a marcher, so that will help me for Marching Mustangs, and I definitely got better at playing the flute,” Torres said. “I was also able to make a lot of lasting friendships and connections during my time at this competition.”

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