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R-MA Competes at the Wolverine Invitational AFJROTC Drill Competition

The R-MA drill team competed at the Wolverine Invitational Air Force JROTC Drill Competition at North Stafford High School in Stafford, VA on Saturday, February 14, 2015. 

The meet was originally scheduled for February 7, 2015, but this year’s weather caused the January SAT exam to be rescheduled to that day, so the drill competition was pushed back to February 14, 2015. That schedule change wreaked havoc with the R-MA drill team.

“When it moved, everybody had other commitments,” explained Technical Sergeant Tina Laing, USAF Retired.  On that same weekend, the JV Basketball team competed in the Delaney Athletic Conference Championship Tournament and five students from R-MA went to perform at the District Chorus Concert. Other students had personal commitments. “So once we found out it was moved, we quickly had to find out who was committed to what, figure out where the holes were, and fill in the blanks.” As a result, she said, Victoria Voellm ’18 had three practices on the unarmed exhibition team. “For her to learn that in three practices is amazing,” said Laing.  In addition, she added, John Backo ’18 became part of both first-year teams and had only two practices as part of the first year unarmed regulation team.

The first year color guard in particular impressed Laing, as it had only three weeks of practice. “I told the freshman that whoever was interested in drill team should show up,” Laing said. “I got more than I expected, and I didn’t want to send anyone away if they were motivated to do it. So I looked at the drill meet and saw the first year color guard category. Everyone had a spot.”

Despite the efforts of all the students and the Air Force JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training) staff, R-MA was still lacking teams to compete in the Regular Color Guard category and the Armed Exhibition category. That meant they began the meet 24 points down from the overall possible score. 

In spite of these challenges, the R-MA cadets won first place in five different events and also took one second place, giving them the overall second place honor out of the three schools competing.   

The first place honors came in Armed Regulation (commanded by Doug Brennand ’15), Inspection (commanded by John Camarella ’15), Unarmed Exhibition (commanded by Emma Bunker ’16), First Year Cadets (commanded by Victoria Voellm ’18), and First Year Color Guard (commanded by John Backo ’18). The team also took second place by tie breaker in Unarmed Regulation (commanded by Xin “Lizzy” Ma ’15). 

In addition to the team honors, Jared Keefe ’18 won second place in the Freshman Knockout.