MCJROTC cadets drill their way to Nationals

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A selection of the trophies won by GHS"s Drill Team

SAMANTHA GROSS, Staff Writer

This past weekend, the Gloucester High School MCJROTC went to Lowell High School for a drill competition and came back with a plethora of trophies.

Unarmed Regulation – 4th

Unarmed Exhibition – 5th

Unarmed Inspection-  4th

Unarmed Color Guard – 4th

Armed Color Guard – 5th

New Cadet Drill – 3rd

“We were in 6 events and got 6 trophies,” said Senior Marine Instructor Gunner Muth.

The drill meet was the third drill meet of the year for the team. Of the 20 members, there are only 5 returners from last year’s National championship team.  
“Although the team is relatively new, they carried themselves as seasoned veterans,” said Marine Instructor and coach Master Sergeant DeBose. “Every event left them with even more confidence. So much so that they walked away with a trophy in every event they participated in.”  

Along with their coach, the team had a lot of confidence in themselves and drilled their way to the top.“I don’t know how many teams there were, but there was a school from Reading PA, and Salem NH,” said Cadet Commanding Officer and Drill Team Captain Soo Ae Ono. “I felt like this was the first competition that everyone took seriously and did their best.”

“The drill meet was really good,” said senior MCJROTC Cadet Yanna Pena-Ortiz. “We were only a little bit nervous because after the MLK Meet we then were able to get our heads together.”

At the end of the competition, seniors of every school were recognized and received gifts. All seniors earned dog tags and the females received roses.

“As a senior, it felt nostalgic to be in Lowell remembering how nervous I was my freshman year there,” Ono added.

After the competition, cadets now have their heads turned towards Nationals, which is hosted in Daytona Beach, Florida.

“That’s the last meet before Nationals. So this meet in Lowell really helped shape us in a direction we want to go in. Everybody is getting used to what a competition is looking for and what we need to be in order to be aiming for 1st place,” said Pena-Ortiz.

“We know what we need to work on and our goal is to fix our mistakes so that we can be proud to [represent] Gloucester and make Gloucester proud at nationals,” said Ono.

Cadets were proud of themselves and what they had accomplished at the Lowell Drill Meet.“At the end we became closer with one another and felt at ease about things. It’s a step closer to Nationals that means we can get even more better and prepared when the meet in Pennsylvania comes,” said Pena-Ortiz.

“I felt proud of the amount of confidence I saw and their dedication to the team was made clear through their performance,” said Ono. “Although we didn’t place well, we placed in every event which was really important. The cadets took what was said during practice and displayed it on the floor that day.”

“I truly believe that the team has how to take it to the next level during competitions,” said DeBose, “After each event I would be there to welcome them off the floor and could see the sweat running down their faces–the determination in their eyes and the will to push themselves to limits they never knew existed.”