Ramona, California – Troy NJROTC’s Team Black, the varsity equivalent of Troy’s drill team, traveled to Ramona High School to compete in a variety of drilling contests. Many NJROTC units from other schools, like La Habra and Troy’s nemesis Westview, also came to compete in the field meet. The field meet included events like Personnel Inspection, Unarmed Basic and Exhibition, Armed Regulation and Exhibition, and Color Guard. There is also a separate Physical Training event. Cadets tried to achieve the most amount of pushups and situps, as well as win the relay races.
Team Black started off with Personnel Inspection. Military instructors inspected the cadets. They asked questions pertaining to NJROTC knowledge, inspected the quality of their uniforms, and checked to see if the cadets could keep their bearing (the ability to keep a straight face and answer in a neutral tone). Unfortunately, some cadets had a hard time keeping bearing while simultaneously trying to recall their knowledge. Troy placed third overall in Personnel Inspection due to these hiccups. They then proceeded to split up to compete in the separate events.
The Color Guard team, a group of 4 cadets (2 with the American and Californian flags, 2 with rifles) who act as mobile American/Californian flags, went first. Color Guards are usually used for sporting events when spectators stand for the national anthem. The Color Guard team demonstrated their elaborate routine, which was perfectly synchronized. Unsurprisingly, Troy’s Color Guard placed first.
Almost simultaneously, the Unarmed Basic team was also drilling. Unarmed Basic drill cadets form up as a platoon and march around following the commands and directions of the Platoon Commander. Despite some minor incidents with the drill commands (voice cracks), Troy still placed first in Unarmed Regulation.
Immediately after this event, Armed Regulation formed for their drill. Armed Regulation is similar to Unarmed Basic, except that in this case cadets have rifles, which they occasionally spin in the air or slam on the ground. Armed Regulation went without a hitch, and Troy placed first.
Unarmed Exhibition performed simultaneously in a nearby field. Unarmed Exhibition is where cadets march, perform sharp hand motions, snap, clap, and stomp. One of the most synchronized drill teams, Unarmed Exhibition unfortunately placed third. Vy Pham, the platoon commander for the UX team, believes that it was not their performance, but the routine itself that let Troy down.
“This time, our routine was heavily focused around speed and stomping,” she explained. “In a gym, or a parking lot, or in any hard surface it looked and sounded great. However, we failed to notice that we were going to perform on a grass field, which really diminished the effect of the stomps and the routine overall.” She then went on to state that she would make sure to account for their setting in their next routine.
For the PT events, Troy performed almost flawlessly. They blew the competition out of the water for the relay, and for sprints beat their rival Westview by 8 seconds. Many cadets reached well into triple digits for their number of situps and pushups, and helped the team score first and second places in pushups and situps, respectively.
Overall, Troy placed second. At first, this was surprising to see, given that Troy had placed first in most of the events. However, after reviewing the scores sent to the team, the team found the reason they didn’t win. They had missed their chance for beating Westview and placing first by only 2 points. Westview, the overall winner, had placed second place for many of the events Troy won by only a few points. It was the inspection that had killed Troy, the area where Troy scored the lowest. First Sergeant Lyon, the instructor and chaperone for the team, declared on the bus trip home that they were going to “amp up PI to drill you all into perfection.” Cadet Lieutenant Commander Patrick Liu, a part of the AR and AX teams, also commented, saying that they would drill “as much as possible so we don’t lose because of something stupid like this ever again.”