CNMI Cadet Drill Team Wins All Army Championship In California

36 students from Saipan Southern and Rota High Schools attend 2017 Golden Bear National Drill Meet 

By Lori Lyn C. Lirio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 2, 2017) – The commonwealth team of Saipan Southern High School and Rota High School cadets won their first ever All Army Championship Trophy at the recently concluded 2017 Golden Bear National Drill Meet in Torrance, California.

CSM (Ret.) Richard Basa, senior Army instructor for the SSHS JROTC, said the CNMI Drill Team has won numerous trophies in the past but not the All Army Championship. In 2016, he said, the cadets of SSHS and Rota finished second while Guam took home the trophy.

“This year, we took the trophy from Guam,” he said, adding that the CNMI cadets’ dedication, commitment and countless hours of practicing led to their victory.

“We are putting our CNMI Drill Team on the map — the other stateside drill teams are now learning where the CNMI Drill Team is from,” Basa said.

He thanked those who supported the SSHS Manta Rays and the Rota Bucks, adding that the students did an outstanding job in the competition.

The CNMI Drill Team is composed of 36 students from both schools. They traveled to California on April 25 to compete with more than 40 varsity drill teams from the West Coast.

Aside from the All Army Championship, Basa said the CNMI Drill Team also won first place in three categories.

SSHS cadet Matthew Kapileo was first in Armed Tapout and was named Outstanding Commander. SSHS also won first place in Regulation Armed Varsity.

Rota High School cadets Jezzel Candia, Loreville Clitar, Mary Heather Jingco and Francisco Santos Jr. took second place in Four-Man Unarmed Exhibition.

SSHS won third place in Inspection Armed Varsity, Exhibition Armed and Sweepstakes Armed Varsity.

SSHS cadet Kapileo placed fourth in Unarmed Tapout while Emmanuel Aquino was fifth.

In the Armed Color Guard (Pad 1) Varsity, SSHS finished fifth while Rota’s C/Maj. Keoni Hocog was fifth in the Outstanding Unarmed Commander competition.

Basa said he is thankful to their two chaperones Mona Maratita and Bernice Maratita as well as to JROTC instructors SGM Joaquin Kiyoshi, CW3 Joseph Prenteau and 1SG Phillip Sablan for all their hard work.

Marianas Variety
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