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      Local girl takes color guard skills national

      Elena Ehrhardt has only been on the Quincy High School's color guard team for two years but what she lacks in experience she makes up in skill. That's why she was chosen out of hundreds to be part of the All Star Invitational Marching Band that performed at halftime of this year's Bowl Championship Series national title game.

      "I got the letter in the mail and I sent in my audition tape and they spent three or four months just going through everyone's audition tapes and finally I got a letter telling me that I was in," Ehrhardt said. "We were so excited and it was the day of a game so we went strait there and we were able to tell everybody that night."

      One of the first people Ehrhardt told was her coach, Debbie Johnson.

      "I was just really thrilled because we didn't know how the process would take place and after we waited so long from the time she sent her audition tape until we actually got the word that she made it all of though, 'Oh well we tried and it's the best she can do'," Johnson said. "Then when she got the notice that she made it, we were just ecstatic for her."

      Yes, she means "we" because on this team there's no jealousy, only support.

      'We were just ecstatic," Captain of the Quincy High School color guard team, Evie Clark said. 'We knew it was something that she tried out for and we were really proud of her that she did make it."

      That support goes both ways.

      "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the team." Ehrhardt said.

      And that's why she's hoping her new found fame will shine off on her team.

      "Hopefully it puts us out there a little bit so we're more recognized and people can think of us more than just the marching band," Ehrhardt said.

      Almost 31 states were represented in the All Star Invitational Marching Band and thanks to Ehrhardt, Illinois was one of them.