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North Branch JROTC Competes at National HS Drill Team Championships

Dual Exhibition Drill places 4th/Color Guard places 12th

team photo

Competing cadets included (l t or): Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, Col. Paul Johnson, Crystal Markel, Dayna Nelson, Brianna Hendren and Gabi Hanson

On May 1, 2021, cadets from the North Branch Area High School Air Force JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp) competed at the National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cadets competed in two events, Dual Exhibition Drill and Color Guard.  Competing in Dual Exhibition Drill were Crystal Markel and Dayna Nelson while the Color Guard Team consisted of Crystal Markel, Dayna Nelson, Gabriell Hanson, and Brianna Hendren.

The Dual Exhibition Drill team placed an impressive fourth while the Color Guard team placed a remarkable 12th! There were 41 registered schools in the Color Guard competition category.  Colonel Paul Johnson, the program’s Senior Aerospace Science Instructor stated, “Overall, we competed extremely well for our first go-around at the National Level!  We did well enough to get invited back for next year's competition!”

The Dual Exhibition Drill team choreographed a three-minute exhibition routine highlighting appearance, showmanship, military bearing, marching ability, movement variety and difficulty, precision, and military flavor.  The Color Team performed a scripted routine of twenty-five commands ranging from Uncasing the Colors, to Reporting In and Reporting Out, along with multiple military movements throughout the sequence. 

In addition to competing, Cadet Nelson had the honor of singing the National Anthem to commence the Awards Ceremony.  Competition Director, Mr. Justin Gates of Sports Network International, commented, “Cadet Nelson’s performance was the best rendition of the National Anthem this event has heard in a very long time!  Her performance was incredible!"

color guard

Cadets compete in the Color Guard category at the National High School Drill Team Championships

Colonel Johnson noted how extremely proud he is of the cadets, adding, “They competed hard on the largest drill competition stage in the world!  We learned some things about ourselves and saw some things in the other teams that we can strive to attain through hard work and dedication.”

In its 39th year, The National High School Drill Team Championships is an invitation-only event that allows the finest programs in the world to compete in drill & ceremony competitions in order to crown a National Champion in one of several competition levels and divisions.  Few honors can compare with selection to attend the National High School Drill Team Championships.