Cadets members, staff, family, friends, volunteers, and alumni gathered at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis Sunday morning for a post-finals awards banquet. In addition to a hearty brunch, the event featured keynote speakers, tear-filled goodbyes, and a celebration of the 2018 show, The Unity Project.
The Cadets said goodbye to 53 age-outs this season, including 2018 Jim Jones Leadership Award winner and Cadets drum major Claire Albrecht. She was also one of six members to receive a Cadet of the Year Award. Guest speakers included DCI Executive Director and CEO Dan Acheson and Brandt "the voice of DCI" Crocker, who both spoke about the perseverence and grit of the 2018 Cadets.
"What I feel is grateful," Acheson said in recollecting his thoughts on the season. "Grateful that I got to know The Cadets in 2018 as well as I did; grateful for the YEA! board of directors that stepped up; grateful for the corps director that did an amazing job, Scott Litzenberg; grateful that you were able to experience an incredible season as performers for The Cadets."
Crocker, who was invited to speak at the event by Cadets Director Scott Litzenberg, shared similar sentiments. He was sure to mention the raucous standing ovation the corps received at DCI Finals.
"When that unifrom showed up on Friday night, 'oh yeah, baby,'" Crocker said with a smile, referencing the 50-yard-line maroon and gold-clad Cadet that was put into the show during Finals week. "You had the audeince eating out of your hands... and you knew it."
The banquet concluded with awards and desserts and a viewing of a special recap video from the season followed by the corps' 2018 finals performance. Cadet awards were presented as follows.
Rookie of the Year — Rachel Martin
Cadet of the Year — Kaytlin Manasco
Most Improved — Eric Homovich
Distinguished Service — Josh Ackley
Rookie of the Year — Jenna Craven
Cadet of the Year — Anna Hirsch
Distinguished Service — Emily Navarro, Emma Stogsdill, Dana Hua
Rookie of the Year — Chloe Caputo and Naoto Toyoda
Cadet of the Year — Brock Nelson
Most Improved — Joe Zavorskas and Antonio Bonilla-Garcia
Distinguished Service — Elisha Loy and Anna Paterniti
Rookie of the Year — Kyle Larsen
Cadet of the Year — Mike Galetta
Most Improved — Alexia Hilario
Distinguished Service — Anthony D'Andrea and Connor Horwath
Rookie of the Year — Shawn Nagpal
Cadet of the Year — Richard Clavo and Claire Albrecht
Most Improved — Erin Sowers and Mika Saario
Distinguished Service — Sara Bowden and Logan Gupta
Staff Rookie of the Year — Alejandro Tavarez
Staff Member of the Year — Craig Sellers
Director's Service Awards — Mike McConnell, Mike Mixa, Drew Shanefield
Volunteer of the Year — Terri Johannes and Brian Gable
Administrator of the Year — Lauren Davis