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JROTC Drill Team is top contender at Xavier University

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News The Marion High School JROTC Drill Team had their best performance this season while competing against 10 other schools in a regional event recently hosted by Xavier University’s ROTC program. 

The Marion High School JROTC Drill Team competes in the armed exhibition event at Xavier University Saturday.

At the end of the competition on Saturday, when the placements were announced, the Giants had garnered more top three finishes than any other school present, making it their best competition yet this season.

“Our team is really progressing nicely this season,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jon Smith, the JROTC program’s Army instructor and team coach. “Three of our event commanders have been struggling thus far, but they really pulled it all together for this competition, and the results testified to their training and execution.”

Cadet Audrey Dickerson is one of those emerging leaders. She diligently trained and prepared her team for the unarmed squad exhibition, and they earned their first top-place finish at the Xavier competition. The squad also included Lunden Colley, I’Yela Hornaday, Joanna Hildago, Tyron Rice, Tayler Garriott, Kayleina O’Donnell, Eric Asher, and Kylee O’Neil.

“I had confidence in my team members going into the event,” Dickerson said. “While competing we had a few hiccups, but we brought it together and finished strong. I think we are ready for our next competition at Purdue University.”

The drill competition at Purdue university is considered by the Giants to be their toughest meet. There, they will face more than 30 schools, many of which compete at the national championship.

At Xavier, the Giants earned second place finishes in the exhibition duet and color guard events. The Giants also earned third place finishes in the squad armed regulation, squad un-armed regulation, color guard, and the individual exhibition events.

Marion High School JROTC cadets demonstrate precision, timing, and poise during the drill competition hosted Saturday at Xavier University. 

Cadet Tyron Rice bested nearly 200 other cadets to secure a fifth place finish in the individual knock-out competition. In knock-out, cadets conduct stationary drill movements under the watchful eye of a dozen drill sergeants. Cadets are removed (knocked out) from the competition for even the slightest mistake. As the number of cadets reduces, those remaining have even closer scrutiny from the drill sergeants.

“Nerve-wracking! Simply nerve-wracking,” Rice said about the knock-out competition. “I was shaking so badly, and that is why I was eventually knocked out.”

The Marion High School JROTC female color guard squad competes at Xavier University on Saturday.

Aside from the cadets having to learn and demonstrate various drill routines, these competitions teach cadets how to prepare and train for big events, and then to handle the stress and pressure of competing, Smith said.

“Being able to perform under intense pressure is a skill that will benefit these cadets as they progress into adulthood,” he said.

The Giants Drill Team travels Saturday to compete at Purdue University.