JROTC wins seven First Place trophies, overall Sweepstakes at NORCAL Invitational Drill meet


At Hiram Johnson in Sacramento April 22, 25 JROTC cadets competed against 14 different schools in the NORCAL Invitational Drill meet. Contest categories included Unarmed Inspection, Regulation and Exhibition, Armed Inspection, Regulation and Exhibition and Color Guard Inspection and Regulation. Participants met at school at 5:45 a.m. and rode together on a bus.

“We had our team breakfast to go to beforehand at Mel’s Diner, so getting up at 3 a.m. allowed us time to check our gear, time for people to eat and essentially just calm our nerves before the competition. We were required to be at the school no later than 5:45 a.m. for attendance,” Adriaan Urquidez said.

Caitlin Peck, Unarmed Exhibition Commander, described the experience of developing and coordinating their entire routine.

“It had its ups and downs, but in the end it was very rewarding and I think it brought us closer together as a team. It took a few weeks to come up with the ideas for the whole thing, and then about a month of practicing it to get the finalized routine that we actually performed. There was nothing really specific that had to be in the performance, but we were graded on things like the complexity and originality of the routine,” Caitlin Peck said.

Another commander, Jack Scaglione, commanded the Color Guard team after his third year competing in this competition.

“I’ve trained for five months this year. But I’ve competed in the competition itself for three. For the competition, everyone gets assigned to either Unarmed, Armed or Color Guard team. I was the commander for the Color Guard Team. My job is to get them ready to perform. I try not to overcomplicate it but it’s not easy. Teaching the precision and technique it takes to perform at the level we do takes a good commander, but even better team members,” Scaglione said.

At competitions, JROTC conducts drills that are different from any other performance shown at school or sporting events.

“If you’ve seen our performance before a football game, you’ve seen only a fraction of the stuff we do. We have to do intricate turns, wheels, flag and rifle maneuvers while in that formation. Judges critique us on our precision, accuracy, sync and clarity,” Scaglione said.

Won overall First Place, also known as Sweepstakes, as well as the following First Place awards: Color Guard Inspection and Color Guard Regulation Drill commanded by Cadet Colonel Jack Scaglione, Unarmed Inspection and Armed Inspection commanded by Cadet Lt Colonel Mikeala Becker, Armed Inspection and Armed Regulation commanded by Cadet Colonel Julien Hale and Armed Exhibition commanded by Cadet Captain Ellisia Quintana.

“In the four years I’ve been in this program, I’ve never seen a team earn as many trophies as we did. Seven out of eight first place trophies is something that hasn’t happened in a long time. It felt like we ended how we started and then some. As a fourth year cadet, it’s hard to describe the pride I have and will continue to have from not only this event, but having the opportunity to develop and lead such great people as we have. It’s truly an honor,” Scaglione said.

After a full day of competition, Urquidez and the cadets celebrated but were exhausted.

Urquidez said, “Everyone there in that moment was parading around a trophy from their team’s win. From that announcement to the bus ride home to the dismissal at school, we celebrated together with reflection in all our training and the final performance we gave. And when we got home, we slept straight through Sunday.”