The Liberty High School Lions Pride marching band took first place and best percussion in Group III bands, with a score of 89.5, at the Freestate Spectacular VIII Maryland State Band Championship on Saturday at Towson State University.
The South Carroll High School Cavaliers marching band placed second in Group III, with a score of 87.45, and won the best music category.
The top two Carroll schools competed against 10 other bands in Group III, including the North Carroll Panthers, which placed 10th with a score of 73.5. Group III bands have 56 to 80 musicians.
According to the Liberty band director, Bryan Eber, the band was enthusiastic about this year's victory.
"The students celebrated on the bus ride home," he said. "We're very happy about the win."
The band has won the Group III championship for the past four years, and Mr. Eber attributes its success to a group effort.
"What contributes to the win are the dedicated students and staff and the support of the band parents," he said. "Also, I would say our preparation for the season, preparing early, having a good plan of attack for rehearsals and good cooperation from the students have helped."
South Carroll band leader Brad Collins is also happy with the cooperation he has received.
"I was most pleased with our kids' performance," he said.
Mr. Collins was optimistic that the state band championship performance would help the band do well at this weekend's Francis Scott Key Tournament of Bands.
"We were a little unhappy that we didn't come out on top," he said. "We expected to win this year, but I have no complaints about the kids' performance. This weekend is a big weekend for us, and we know that we are going to zero in and focus."
The Westminster Owls also competed in the state tournament, placing fourth out of seven bands in Group IV (81 or more musicians) with a score of 80.55.
"The score means the band has been constantly improving their performance, and this week was a real improvement," said Kim Zitlau, one of two Westminster band directors.
The Francis Scott Key Eagles traveled to Harrisonburg, Va., for the James Madison University Parade of Champions competition Saturday and placed ninth out of 14 high school bands in the Single A Division of bands with up to 45 musicians.
"The placement doesn't reflect the number -- our score was in the center of the pack," said Dennis Davis, FSK band director. "This competition pulls many of the best high schools from four to six states, so the competition is very stiff. We felt real pleased with our performance."
The band also took third place in music execution and the drum major placed fifth, Mr. Davis said.
FSK plays host at its own Tournament of Bands on Saturday at the school near Uniontown.