They were just 0.1 of a point from a season sweep.
The Lawrence High Marching Lions came in second at Kansas University’s Heart of America Marching Festival by the slimmest margin possible.
However, it made their victory at the Neewollah Marching Festival that much sweeter — in Independence, LHS beat Buhler High School, the school that won in the Lions’ backyard.
Out of three festivals this marching season, the Lions were in perfect harmony and came away with two grand championships — at Neewollah and at the Blue Valley Invitational, a competition LHS has never won before.
“The music was absolutely phenomenal,” senior drum major Travis Jacobsen said of their program, “Caravan: A Journey Through the Sand.” “I think that’s what drove a lot of our spirits.”
This season was one of new beginnings, and one that band director Mike Jones believes will be one for the books.
“This was our first time in our new uniforms, on a new field,” Jones said. “This is a tradition-rich school, but yet, this is their chance to have a say in what’s happening in the new tradition.”
And while it’s nice to have new things, senior band members say that wasn’t what led to winning.
“It’s almost just luxuries that were added, but it’s heart,” senior trumpet player Henry Chapman said. “At the end of the day, it’s how much you give to the program.”
The band this year came away with enough hardware to fill an entire trophy case near the front entrance of LHS.
Other awards include two best drum major awards, best in Class 6A, best music, best general effect, and outstanding 1 ratings in two areas.
It’s been a few years since LHS has had a season this successful.
“It was really nice to step it up again and show how good we really can be when we put our minds to it,” senior trumpeter Tennery Carttar said. “I just hope the juniors and sophomores from this year will see how hard they worked this year and see how it paid off.”
Jacobsen said he hopes the legacy this year’s band leaves behind inspires the next generation of Lions to surpass its accomplishments.
“We hope that the band in the future is even better than we were,” he said. “In fact, that would be the best possible thing, I think, I could hope for for this band.”
The seniors hadn’t won any competitions until this year, but their mantra was to keep working hard.
“We’ve been playing for two years and gave it our all and finally got it our last year,” senior trumpeter Edward Plotnikov said.
Any advice for future Lions?
“Always try your best,” Plotnikov said. “Don’t feel discouraged when you don’t win.”