Jay Jones recognized the signs.
The Platte County High School Pirate Pride marching band won its first competition this season, topping the field at the Missouri Western State University Tournament of Champions last week. The Pirates beat Raymore-Peculiar, St. Joseph Central and Lansing (Kan.) in the Class 4A Division, and the 90.3 score out of 100 was tops among the 23 schools in attendance, earning the title of Grand Champion.
“The kids did a great job,” said Jones, Platte County’s longtime director of bands. “They came off the field sweaty and looking like they had just run a marathon, so I knew they put everything they had into it, and it paid off for them. You can tell them over and over that it takes hard work, dedication and sacrifice to really achieve, but until they put that into action like they did last night, they really don’t understand what you’re talking about. After last night, I think they get it.”
In addition to taking home the overall top honors, Platte County’s Spencer Kunz, John Morrione and Audrey Puntney were honored for best drum major, and Brianne Hupp won outstanding flute soloist. The Pirates also had the outstanding percussion group.
Platte County’s season opened Sept. 24 in Sedalia, Mo. with a runner-up finish in the Smith-Cotton Invitational. The Pirates were then second in the Park Hill Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 8 before taking Grand Champion on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in St. Joseph, Mo.
On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Pride Band competed at the Festival of Champions in Warrensburg, Mo., taking second in the Red Division and fourth in the finals out of 12 schools.
Platte County’s season continues Saturday, Oct. 22 in the Odessa Invitational before a performance Saturday, Oct. 29 at Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan. in the Heart of America Marching Festival.