On the morning of April 6, 2013 the Smith-Cotton JROTC Drill Team competed in Louisville, Kentucky at the second annual Army JROTC Drill Team National Championship. Drill Teams from across the nation arrived at the Kentucky International Convention Center to compete and march their way into the history books. The Smith-Cotton Drill Team performed remarkably well and received the National Champion Runner-up trophy.
They began their travel to the Bluegrass State on April 3rd, with high expectations of performing well against the best drill teams in the nation. Upon arrival, the cadets set up in the hotel parking lot in order to practice their competitive events, which included Inspection, Color Guard, Regulation, and Exhibition. During practice local commuters and other drivers honked their horns in support as the cadets perfected their rifle spinning and drill movements.
On competition day, at least 2,200 cadets from 66 schools and 22 states, including one from Hawaii, vied for success. The Smith-Cotton Armed and Unarmed drill teams held their own against perennial drill powerhouses such as Douglas McArthur High School (Texas), Francis Lewis High School (NewYork), and James Madison High School (Texas).
The Armed Drill Team performed well in every category, including a nearly flawless performance in Armed Regulation. Just before the performance the team commander, Cadet Rachael DeMent, told the judge, “Are you ready for a show?” The judge responded by saying,
“It will be hard to beat the last performance.” Cadet DeMent replied, “You haven’t seen us yet!” Their performance earned the Armed Regulation Team a second place trophy, and helped propel them to an eighth-place finish overall.
The Unarmed Drill Team performed exceptionally well in each of their events. As the event winners were announced, the Smith-Cotton cadets remained seated with no trophies to call their own. Their hopes to receive a trophy were diminishing very quickly. At the end of the ceremony, and with all trophies awarded except the Unarmed Exhibition first-place trophy, Smith-Cotton’s hopes for a memorable night were quickly fading. To the cadets’ astonishment, the announcer called Smith-Cotton as the winner of the event. Very strong performances in the other events contributed to Smith-Cotton JROTC being named the National Champion Runner-up team.
Armed Team Exhibition Commander and senior Cadet First Sergeant Blake Kramer is very pleased with the teams’ performances. He has been dedicated to the Drill Team for four years and has been very glad to have been able to lead, train, and mentor the younger cadets to follow in his footsteps. “I know that the Drill Team will be left in good hands after graduation,” he said, “and I hope that I have been able to make a positive difference in at least one cadet.”
The drill team looks forward to competing in Daytona Beach, Florida on May 5th and 6th to win a National Championship trophy for Smith-Cotton High School and the entire Sedalia community.
Submitted by Cadet Master Sergeant Cristina Tejeda
Front row (left to right): Cadet Major Jovana Cervantes; Cadet Major Aurora Rafael; Cadet First Sergeant Elizabeth Narron; Cadet Private Daryna Matsyokha; Cadet Second Lieutenant Madelyne Ash; Cadet Staff Sergeant Keannia Collins; Cadet Private Allison Bouslaugh; Cadet Private Kaitlyn Brown; Cadet Master Sergeant Rachael DeMent; Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Hannah Ott.
Second row (left to right): Cadet Captain Alexandria Stewart; Cadet Private Brittany Gollaher; Cadet Private First Class Keila Baeza; Cadet First Sergeant Megan Wilbanks; Cadet Staff Sergeant Sheric Davis; Cadet Staff Sergeant Cosette Claybaugh; Cadet Private Nicolo Dalumpines; Cadet Captain Kendall Ott; Cadet Private First Class Jessica Martin.
Third row (left to right): Cadet Private First Class Hollee Akers; Cadet Staff Sergeant Emily Greble; Cadet Captain Shelbi Davis; Cadet Sergeant First Class Stephanie Barnier; Cadet Private Cierra Jennings; Cadet Captain Allison Morey; Cadet Second Lieutenant Stephen Weeks; Cadet First Sergeant Blake Kramer.
Back Row (left to right): Cadet Sergeant Austin Breining; Cadet First Sergeant Jacob Karman; Cadet Staff Sergeant Kyler Pierson; Cadet Staff Sergeant Michael Frazier; Cadet Second Lieutenant Jonathan Sanchez; Cadet Corporal Matthew Binney; Cadet Master Sergeant Connor Greene; Cadet Staff Sergeant Dalton Trimnal.