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The Sherwood High School percussion members took first place April 23 in Dayton.

COURTESY PHOTO: NICOLE BRUTOSKY - The Sherwood Percussion Ensemble, crowned World Champions, at Dayton, Ohio. They came to conquer. And they did just that on Saturday, April 23, in Dayton, Ohio.

The Sherwood Percussion Ensemble, made up high schoolers, captured the WGI PSO (Percussion Scholastic Open) World Championship, grabbing first place with a score of 97.125.

That's the fourth-highest score awarded in the history of the competition, in their class, and the highest finish ever accomplished by a team from the Pacific Northwest.

A few days before, on April 21, the percussion group competed in the preliminary round. In that round, they earned the third-highest score, beating 35 other groups to move into the semifinals.

The next day, the Sherwood High percussion group earned the No. 1 spot in the semis to reach the finals.

Competing against the best of the best from throughout the United States, the Bowmen took top honors again Saturday — and with it, they claimed the championship.

Nicole Brutosky, a Sherwood fan booster parent and event chaperone, was ecstatic with the result. She said she was cautiously optimistic heading into the Ohio event.

"As a parent chaperone, I went in with high hopes and expectations, but we wanted to be very realistic," Brutosky said. "This was the first time we had ever competed at this level. We just really wanted to go in and give our best showing."

Brutosky added, "We knew these kids just performed their hearts out. We knew they had put everything into the show and to see them be rewarded the way they were, with the scores that they earned, was just unbelievable."

Fingers were crossed and there were plenty of butterflies in stomachs as the Sherwood Percussion Ensemble, made up of 39 students, awaited final results.

"Sitting up in the stands during the awards presentation on Saturday, we were all nervous energy," Brutosky said. "You could see the kids were down on the floor, giddy and anxious. As parents, we really didn't know for sure what to expect. … It was unreal at every point."

Final results brought plenty of tears of joy.

"As soon as the second-place team was announced and we understood that we had won first, it was unbelievable," according to Brutosky. "The kids were hugging and crying. The parents were hugging and crying."

Jeff Bush, percussion director at Sherwood High School, was equally happy with the result.

"It certainly makes us feel great about all the work that we put in on it to receive those accolades," Bush said. "It's a special thing to be able to earn that award for Sherwood High School and for the community of Sherwood."

Bush continued, "We're very proud to represent the Sherwood community. We certainly couldn't have gone there, or done any of that, without the support of the whole community, the school specifically, the Sherwood Band Boosters and Brant Stai, the band director. All of those had to come together and support us in order to achieve what we just received."

Had it not been for COVID-19, the Sherwood Percussion Ensemble might have had another chance to win a championship in Dayton. The problem was that with less than four weeks to competition, the global pandemic hit. From that ensemble, juniors and seniors have now graduated, missing out on that chance to take the trip to Ohio.

"That was absolutely the most heartbreaking thing that you could ever go through," Bush recalled. "We had been preparing for that trip for years, really. The fact that we were able to, somehow, keep that dream alive, to go there and bring our show there in 2022, everything had to fall into place just right, to fulfill that dream that we had had."

Brutosky added, "It was a moment I will never forget. … It was just unbelievable."

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