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What is the Nationals
Open Level Color Guard Event
All About?

Looking to Attend?


The National High School Drill Team Championships began the Open Level Color Guard competition in 1998 at the bequest of many drill programs that have for years wished to bring extra color guard units to the Nationals. In the past, only complete teams (teams entering all team events within a competition division) were generally excepted into the Nationals event.

The beginning of the Open Level Color Guard competition allowed basically two types of color guard units to now attend the Nationals that could not in the past. These were:

Details on the Open Level Color Guard Event
The Open Level Color Guard competition is a single-day event held on Day 1 (Friday)during the National High School Drill Team Championships at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center Arena. The competition will begin at roughly 0800 and should end at approximately 1600. The Open Level Color Guard event provides trophies for 1st-5th place finishes. These trophies are awarded during the Challenge Level Awards Ceremony at the end of the day immediately following the Knockout Drills. Competing schools will arrive the day prior to the competition, to register for the event and prepare for the event. Many schools are electing to extend their hotel stay, thereby taking the opportunity to become spectators at the two-day Masters Level drill competition segment of the Nationals, held the following two days.

Composition of the Open Level Color Guard Entry
Color Guards entering this event must be comprised of cadets that are not competing in any other facet of the Nationals competition. ON OCCASION AND SPACE PERMITTING, Master Level cadets who DO NOT COMPETE ON THEIR COMPETITION COLOR GUARD TEAM AT THE NATIONALS are permitted to enter the Open Level Color Guard. Just as all Color Guard entries at the Nationals will execute, all units compete with two rifle bearers and two flag bearers. As this is an "open level" entry situation, teams of all genders and talent levels will be accepted into the event. Rifles used may be any weight or style, so long as they are capable of executing the color guard sequence as written (i.e., adjustable slings, etc.).

The event is scheduled to allow 38 to 45 schools to compete at the Open Level Color Guard event. Many interested schools call annually to enter this prestigious event.

Is the Open Level Color Guard Event Part of the Nationals?
Yes, just like the events within the Challenge Level and Masters Level, the Open Level Color Guard event is an event of the Nationals. Cadets, Instructors and team followers who attend the Nationals will receive the same event materials and other items.

When Should my School Register to Attend?
First, schools should carefully read the official invitation, the rules and scoresheets, costs to attend and all other items surrounding an attendance at the Nationals. After this, contacting event manager Sports Network International with any questions would be strongly recommended as well.

To keep schools from racing to the post office immediately after receiving their DrillNATION Magazine or after reviewing the materials on-line, ALL SCHOOLS who register by the early December entry deadline outlined within the publication are guaranteed acceptance and a competition slot at the Nationals. This deadline generally makes any school registering BEFORE the Winter holiday break included in the event. This allows schools to be GUARANTEED a slot to better allow school board permission, bus/air travel and other time consuming items to begin their process BEFORE the new year hits. While many competition slots are expected to be available AFTER this date, those schools that wait until the last few days prior to the deadline to mail their entry package really risk their acceptance. Weather influences, lost mail, etc. can make your trip a non-starter if your package is not received by the deadline. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. Regardless of when you enter, give yourself a couple of extra days to ensure your package is in the SNI office by the deadline.

To Register for the NHSDTC
To register your school into the Nationals, please click on the link that says GRAB YOUR COMPETITION SLOT TODAY (found on this form in the upper right side of the page). All entry is done on-line. Teams must fill out some basic info about the program, the entry sought, and then the payment method to pay for the registration fee (note: teams can click "Pay by Mail" to have a check mailed to SNI at a later date.

All Nationals registrations entered by the early December "early acceptance" deadline are accepted. Many spaces will be available after this deadline but for schools traveling from a great distance to attend, using the early acceptance wed by the competition committee of SNI beginning on the early December deadline. Over that weekend, SNI will evaluate all entries on their merits and decide which schools can be accepted. This judgment will be based on many factors, but the largest of these include:

  • Overall team strength in past Nationals performances as well as other regional drill meets you have attended previously.
  • Teams looking to capture an Overall Championship (complete teams entering all five team events with a division) are given preference over partial teams.
  • Geographic spread, service diversity, as well as a gung-ho, motivated nature are all strong points of considerations by SNI.

While most powerful returning schools to the Nationals register within weeks of receiving this invitation, a few schools wait. If you are sure you wish to attend, this could be a recipe for disaster! Schools who register after the early December review deadline only risk having your team unable to attend due to space limitations.

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