BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON – Amid much anticipation, the O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers kicked off their 2016 Field Show season at the 2016 Metro East Marching Classic hosted at the Panther Athletic Complex at OTHS Smiley Campus.
The annual competition, hosted by the Marching Panthers, does not actually start the competition slate for the band, as they performed as an exhibition group at the end of the schedule. The Panthers will head to Edwardsville to take place in the annual Tiger Ambush Classic, an event the band has won upon attendance every season since 2010.
The Marching Panthers will then head west towards Kansas City to compete at Blue Springs High School, an event the band has never competed at. Blue Springs was a finalist at the 2015 Bands of America Grand National Championships, placing them among the top 12 bands in the country.
For this season’s MEMC, 24 regional bands flocked to the Metro East’s Marching Mecca, competing across four divisions, determined by school size.
For 1A, Mater Dei took home Music, Visual, Percussion, and Auxiliary caption to cap off a day that saw them win their class by almost three points. Effingham placed in second, while Nashville took third.
2A competition was much closer at the top, as Hillsboro (MO) just edged out Union (MO) by .35 points. Hillsboro took the Visual and Percussion captions, while Union captured the music crown. Triad would place third, while Centralia captured the Auxiliary caption without placement.
In the 3A class, Fort Zumwalt North (MO) dominated the field, taking home the music, visual, and auxiliary captions and winning the class by just under six points. Francis Howell (MO) took second place and the percussion caption while Fort Zumwalt South (MO) grabbed third.
4A competition featured the Southwestern Conference representatives, and was won by Edwardsville, who also captured the music, visual, and auxiliary captions. The Tigers topped Rockwood Summit (MO), who took the percussion caption. Belleville East took third, while Collinsville grabbed fourth.
Fort Zumwalt North would end up as Grand Champion for the event, as their score of 71.05 was over two points ahead of second place Edwardsville.