Marching Panthers take sixth at Bands of America contest

The Marching Panthers continue to impress during their 50th anniversary year. (Photo by Tim Grout)

The Marching Panthers continue to impress during their 50th anniversary year. (Photo by Tim Grout)

ST. LOUIS – The O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers took another step towards their November goals this past weekend, when they placed sixth overall out of 65 bands from across the country at the Bands of America St. Louis Super Regional.

National title contender Broken Arrow (OK) took home the Super Regional championship with an astonishing score of 94.50, almost three full points ahead of second place Blue Springs (MO). Owasso (OK) would finish third ahead of Bellevue West (NE) and [Tulsa] Union (OK).

The Marching Panthers finished a quarter of a point ahead of Minnesota powerhouse Rosemount with an 87.35.

Fort Zumwalt North made a splash in the program’s first ever BOA Finals, placing ahead of a pair of respected Oklahoma programs in Jenks and Bixby.

OTHS would place fifth overall in preliminary competition, swapping places with Union, a school with a Top 12 pedigree. The Marching Panthers finished fourth in Class AAAA, under a point behind another former BOA Grand National Finalist, Owasso.

The finish is the best in school history for the Panthers, who reached Finals for the eighth time ever.

Next weekend, the Marching Panthers will head down the road to take place in the Belleville East Marching Invitational.

“Well in the past, we haven’t been able to do this show because it has been the same weekend as MEMC,” Dr. Gustafson-Hinds said earlier this season. “But now it’s a great opportunity for our group to keep competing and not suffer any ill-effects of an off-week.”

The Panthers figure to compete for the Invitational crown this year. Three-time defending champion Rockwood Summit (MO) will not be attending, leaving the door wide open for a new winner.

Fifteen bands from across the area will attend, with Collinsville and Edwardsville also representing the Southwestern Conference, as Belleville East will perform only in exhibition.

The Belleville show will be the final tune-up before the band packs up and heads east towards Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium and the Bands of America Grand National Championships, widely regarded as the top stage for high school marching band in the world.