The preliminary round of WGI Championships is all wrapped up, and seven PIW ensembles will be watching the rest of World Championships from the stands.
In the indoor equivalent of the “Big Dance”, only 20 of the 27 PIW ensembles who arrived at Dayton on Thursday will have the chance to move on to Friday’s semifinal round. That field of 20 is made up of the top eight from each of the two preliminary PIW groups, as well as four wildcard slots awarded to the next four highest scores not already included in the 16 automatic bids.
To visualize the breakdown, we’ve included a color-coded recap below. Green ensembles are auto bids, orange are wildcards, and white are done dancing for 2015.
While three ensembles from group two made it through to semis, only the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble from group one earned a wildcard slot, and the last one at that.
Lining up the scores from the two groups as if they competed head to head reveals some interesting story lines to keep an eye on.
RCC Indoor and Music City Mystique were riding undefeated seasons coming into WGI Championships. It was the classic case of an unstoppable force meeting an unmovable object, but something had to give, and that something was MCM. After prelims, RCC is sitting a comfortable 1.388 in front of MCM. Being in different performance groups, It’s hard to tell if that gap will grow or close in semis.
Survive and advance
Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, a group that rarely misses finals, will have to make up a lot of ground to earn a spot to perform on Saturday. Ranked 20th after prelims, BKPE will have to improve its prelims score by at least 1.363 to survive and advance. That is completely doable, provided the competition doesn’t also improve their scores. Unfortunately, history has shown that nearly all ensembles see their scores rise as they advance from round to round during championships. Unless they can beat the trend, BKPE may have sit out of finals again this year.
The new kid on the block
Cadets Winter Percussion has only been around since 2014, but it hasn’t failed to impress in its short existence. The ensemble took gold last year at WGI Finals in PIO division and is poised to ride its growth this year to a finals spot after finishing ninth after prelims.
Little brother packs a punch
POW Percussion is the only ensemble in prelims to compete against the very program it was designed to feed into: Pulse Percussion. But POW isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving finishing tenth after prelims and poised to advance to WGI PIW finals for the second straight year.