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Marysville NJROTC excels at Northwest Drill and Rifle competition

The cadets of the Marysville Naval Junior ROTC armed drill team march sharp during the first seasonal Northwest Drill and Rifle competition at Marysville-Pilchuck High School on Jan. 11. - Kirk Boxleitner
The cadets of the Marysville Naval Junior ROTC armed drill team march sharp during the first seasonal Northwest Drill and Rifle competition at Marysville-Pilchuck High School on Jan. 11.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — For the ninth year in a row, Marysville-Pilchuck High School hosted the first seasonal Northwest Drill and Rifle competition on Saturday, Jan. 11, which saw the Marysville Naval Junior ROTC compete against 10 other schools in the fields of air rifle, unarmed and armed drill, physical strength and Color Guard.

Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Kathy Wilde, the naval science instructor for the Marysville NJROTC, noted that this year marked the debut of Marysville's second unarmed drill team at the annual competition, which hosts all Northwest-league JROTC programs.

"This means all the services compete against each other," said Wilde, who reported that the Navy was also represented by Oak Harbor, Burlington-Edison and Everett this year, while Arlington, Federal Way and Todd Beamer represented the Air Force, Mount Tahoma represented the Army and Snohomish represented the Marine Corps in the day's competitions. "Our drill teams practice between three and four days a week, from 5:55-7 a.m., while our air rifle team puts in four hours a week and our physical strength team does an additional two hours a week. Our first unarmed team was defending its 2013 Division Champ title. They finished 2013 as second place in the division. Oak Harbor was first."

While the Marysville NJROTC first unarmed drill team and its commander, Cadet Stanley Reyes, both took second place that day, its armed drill team took first place, although armed drill team commander Cadet Joshua Buchanan took second place. Marysville's second unarmed drill team and its commander, Cadet Lester Flores, both took third place, while both of Marysville's Color Guard teams and their commanders, cadets Shandale Garcia and Ivan Christi, took fourth place. The dual armed drill team led by Buchanan and fellow Cadet Justin Dang took third place, while the physical strength team led by Christi took sixth place.

In the air rifle competition, Cadet Alexis Rossi came in 10th out of 54 competitors. As for Cadet Tran Mindhan, who was in his second year at this competition, when he scored first place in the unarmed drill down, it caught him by surprise enough that he simply exclaimed, "Me?"

"We've come a very long way, and I'm very proud of the hard work and commitment all of the cadets have put in," Cadet Lt. Joshua Buchanan said. "Our wins just prove we can do whatever we set our minds to, as long as we work together."

"We didn't place where we aimed, but it's not where you start that matters, it's where you finish that counts," said Cadet Senior Chief Petty Officer Nicholas Alonso, Third Squad leader for the Marysville NJROTC first unarmed drill team. "Our company is doing amazing."

"Hosting this event is a huge endeavor, and the cadets were hosts first and competitors second," Wilde said. "That's not an easy lesson for young adults, but they managed it extremely well. There's a lot of logistical planning and resource setup that goes into coordinating and managing this event. The Action Officer, Cadet Petty Officer 1st Class Colton Torgerson, managed the entire event by leading the company, from scheduling and setting up, to scoring, conducting the awards ceremony and taking everything down like professionals."

The Marysville NJROTC teams will be competing again at Snohomish High School on Jan. 25.

"We are well on our way to performing at regionals," Wilde said. "Our teams have all been practicing since October, and they really put their hearts into this season. They've been fearless in their imagination, and anchored in tradition and history. Their overall performances were better than last year, and the cadets are super-excited to perform in the upcoming competitions. A common chant heard throughout the days is 'All the way.'"

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