Marchers striding to national honours
After just two years, women from Tawa and Porirua have marched to national success.
The Inspire Marching team was third in the technical drill discipline at the recent marching national championships in Auckland.
Team member Jonell Cupples said they achieved their goal for the season with their third place.
‘‘We set out with a goal. We wanted to place top three,’’ she said.
‘‘We were all pretty chuffed because that’s what we wanted. We worked our butts off.’’
The team had stepped up its weekly training to twice a week in the lead-up.
The success had prompted them to think bigger for next season, she said.
She hoped the team would compete in both technical drill and the more freestyle display discipline at the North Island champs this year and at next year’s nationals.
Technical drill was all about counts and paces, Cupples said.
Cupples’ team-mate, Melanie Mata, said the most important part was timing and unison from every member.
‘‘Everyone is a number with different counts, but when you put all your counts together you all come together as a team,’’ she said.
Cupples said people were often confused about what the sport entailed, and she had even been asked if she was a soldier.
Another team member, Renee Carter, said she was used to bewildered looks when she told people about the sport she loves.
‘‘People go, ‘What’s that? Do you have those baton things?’, or they ask if we have musical instruments,’’ she said.
‘‘It definitely is unusual. A lot of people haven’t even heard about it.’’
The lack of public knowledge did not deter the marchers. Their love of the sport and the relationships it has created for them make it worthwhile.
Mata said they had become close friends. ‘‘It’s not only socialising while doing the sport. We also socialise outside of it as well. ‘‘It definitely forms bonds.’’ Cupples agreed. ‘‘It’s more of a family for me. I feel like I can call on my sisters.’’
The Inspire Marching team, from left, Nikki Prenderville, Krystal Huaki, Renee Carter, Kirsten Bolton, Shakaiyah Macdonald, Melissa Cunningham, Jonell Cupples, Sharlene Haronga, Alison Patterson-Knox and Melanie Mata.