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UMA Drill Wins State Competition Once More

UMA’s Drill teams celebrate recent victories and share insights
The+drill+team+stands+in+front+of+their+awards.
The drill team stands in front of their awards.

It is clear that after the Utah State JROTC Drill Competition at Northridge High School in early March, the drill team at Utah Military Academy is second to none. Theycontinue to be very competitive, and the cadets work very hard to achieve their victories.

In total, the UMA drill team has now won state ten times in a row, beginning with our very first year in 2014. 

So far this year, the drill team has done exceptionally well. Previous competitions, like the one at Ben Lomond High, show how well the drill team has done this year.

The Ben Lomond Drill Competition happened on Saturday, February 24th. At Ben Lomond, the three parts of the drill team, armed, unarmed, and color guard, competed in their own categories. Cadets also participated in solo events, separate from the teams. 

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The results of the Ben Lomond competition foreshadowed the success the team would see later. Both the Armed team and Unarmed team took first in exhibition and inspection. Cadet Coady Maples did a solo performance and scored himself second place. Overall the whole team managed to take the podium with first place.

Before the state competition and reflecting on the goal to win the state competition, SGT. Jimenez said that they [the drill team] couldn’t “slack off.” And so, the state competition was held at Northridge High School on Saturday, March 2nd. This would be the tenth year that UMA would be participating in the state competition. The stakes and the pressure were high; their win streak was possibly in jeapardy. However, if the drill team won, they would secure a decade of state championships. A true dynasty.

The Armed team achieved first, second, and third in exhibition, inspection, and regulation respectively. They also won first place in armed commander category. 

The Unarmed team got first in exhibition, like they did at Ben Lomond. However, they got second place in inspection. Overall they were second.

Two people placed in the solo category: Cadet Coady Maples and Kaycie Payne. Despite an unfortunate accident with his weapon, Cadet Maples managed to ‘spin’ his way into first place. Cadet Payne scored herself fourth place in the solo category.

Combining the results of the various categories of competition, they managed to win first place overall. A huge congratulations to the drill team as they have won state every year that UMA has been a school.

The drill team is organized into the different categories of competiton. There are cadet commanders that preside over the different parts of the team. Each of them feel a little different about how their team did. 

Cadet Nathaniel Innocenzi gave some insight into the Color Guard team. Overall his comments were positive. I feel that the Color Guard has done an outstanding job this drill season. Everyone has grown considerably since our last competition and the year before.” 

Cadet Innocenzi also has some positive things to say on the way that the Color Guard could improve. He told of a time where they had trouble with a marching cadence. Once they fixed that problem their score improved, “…even the smallest changes will make a big difference when we next go on the drill floor.”

With all these improvements the outlook of Color Guard is good. Cadet Innocenzi is a senior and will be graduating this year. Even though he won’t be part of the team next year, he believes that, “…if new and returning members go all in and dedicate themselves to what they do, they will find success…” 

Cadet Jonathan Kaiser said that the armed drill team did outstanding. “The judges after our exhibition routine came and found me to tell me that we had the best exhibition routine that they had ever seen.”

“This year we had a complete revamp of our routine and though it was a struggle to get to where we needed to be, we managed… We always do.”

“The outlook of the drill team is good in the coming years. We will lose some good experience with some seniors graduating, but it opens up for more good spinners to step up, and we have plenty of those off the team and on the team,” reflected Cadet Kaiser.

The unarmed drill team commander, Cadet Bhauvjeet Kaur puts in a lot of effort. She has been on the team for three years, and has made a lot of progress in that time. 

She says that the unarmed team is made up of “unique individuals” and that “the team bonding has been so good, and the performance has been much better.”

Cadet Kaur believes that they can still make some improvements. The improvements that they make, in Kaur’s words are, “the little details in our routines and making sure we are focused on nationals.”

In the future Cadet Kaur believes that the unarmed drill team will continue to grow and improve. Very exciting for the upcoming national competition. 

The National JROTC Drill Competition will be held on the 13th of April at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Everyone on the drill team is working to prepare for the upcoming competition. SGT Jimenez adds, “We need to do gooder!”

The drill commanders.
Drill team in action.

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Severin Glenn
Severin Glenn, Reporter
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