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Profile: Ruby Pokras and Brynn Gorney

Gorney, Pokras: ‘I couldn’t imagine my life without it.’

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With one year of prior experience each, freshmen Brynn Gorney and Ruby Pokras have been named co-captains of the Oak Park High School 2018-19 color guard. They were the first members of Oak Park’s color guard to join as middle schoolers, the youngest in the marching band.

The two have since lead the guard to placing second at the recent Simi Valley High School marching band competition, which is the highest place Oak Park’s color guard has ever received.

“I’m super proud of every individual in both color guard and marching band,” said Pokras.

As of one year ago, both of their interests included music. Pokras is currently a member of the Oak Park String Orchestra and Gorney is a member of the Oak Park Choir.

When former coach Hunter Browneller demonstrated spinning at Medea Creek Middle School, Gorney said this sparked her interest and led her to ask her close friend, Pokras, to join the guard with her.

Daisy Calderon/Talon
The captains first practiced on flag line, then moved to the rifle and sabre

“I first got really interested when I first spun rifle,” Gorney said. “I decided to stay in it and really found myself enjoying it more and more until I couldn’t imagine my life without it now.”

In color guard, different equipment combined with dance are used in interpretation with a marching band’s music to add a visual aspect to the field show. New members generally start on flag-line, and work their way up to spinning rifles and sabers.

Color guard practices for more than 10 hours a week during the marching and winter seasons, both in groups and individual practices. Pokras said one of her favorite aspects of color guard is “how musically involved it is.” Both color guard members believe that being on color guard has made them more outgoing.

“[Pokras] has grown as a captain and performer … [Gorney] has very much opened up,” coach Cameron Curtis said.

Both Gorney and Pokras have inspirations that push them to do their best in color guard and in life.

“In life, it would be my mother and in color guard, it would be Cameron and Ruby. I’m doing it with my best friend so it’s an awesome experience,” Gorney said.

Pokras’ main inspiration is music and she uses it as “an outlet to project what’s in her head and to push her to new things.”

Both Pokras and Gorney plan to continue spinning after high school, since it has now become a part of their lives.

“I feel like it would at least be a side sport, whether it be military guard or coaching. It will definitely be part of my future,” said Gorney

Pokras has already been looking into local independent guards, such as The Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps.

The co-captains both face every day struggles with color guard, and constantly practice to overcome these challenges.

“I go home and do it over and over again so I can go to practice being the best I can,” Pokras said.

One of the main struggles Pokras and Gorney have felt since their time on the guard is the lack of understanding people have about the sport. They say the biggest misconception people have about color guard is recognition for their hard work.

“We do work really hard at what we do and win awards for it but don’t get recognized for it. It’s not just flags, it’s weapons too and we have many bruises to prove it,” said Gorney.

Pokras’ perfect day is not a school day. She would most likely stay in and binge watch her favorite show. Pokras says her good days are when she’s feeling “inspired.” Gorney would ideally spend the day with family and friends, reading or swimming and end with dinner at the beach.

Daisy Calderon/Talon
The captains started practicing in eighth grade excelling to the captain position in freshmen year

After almost three seasons with the Oak Park Color guard, Gorney and Pokras have created countless memories with their team members. Gorney said her most memorable moment was when she became captain. It was exactly the push she needed.

“I love helping people and it felt amazing to know that Ruby and I would be helping the rest of the guard do our best and succeed,” Gorney said.

Pokras’ most memorable moment was their win at the 2018 Simi Valley Band Spectacular.

“I was overwhelmed with excitement and it’s the happiest I have been in a long time,” Pokras said.

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