PENSACOLA, FL — Northmont’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) travelled to Pensacola, Florida March 30 – April 5 to participate in the 2016 NJROTC National Academic, Athletic and Drill Championship held at the Naval Air Technical Training Center on Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola.
Annually, approximately 26 of 573 NJROTC units worldwide qualify for the national competition. Northmont qualified by winning this year’s Area 3 East competition in Grove City, Ohio in mid-March. Hamilton High School from Hamilton, Ohio also participated in the national meet.
The cadets competed in personnel inspection, academics, athleticism, Color Guard and four team drill events. At the end of the competition, Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command, presented participation certificates to all schools and then presented trophies and individual medals at the National Museum of Naval Aviation.
Northmont placed ninth overall and won a fourth place trophy for its unarmed exhibition team commanded by Cadet Kiani Hayes. In individual events, the Thunderbolts took home medals for the following. Female Curl-Ups: Taylor Evans, third place. Male Curl-Ups: Jordan Gales, ninth place. Academics: Mark Wood, tenth place.
The overall championship was won by Shawnee Mission North (Overland Park, Kansas) High School. Second place went to Green Run (Virginia Beach, Virginia) High School, third to last year’s champion, Boca Raton (Florida) High School, fourth to Centennial (Las Vegas) High School and fifth to Escambia (Pensacola, Florida) High School.
The highlight of all drill meets is the knockout events. In this case, approximately 800 cadets lined up in a large military formation, and executed stationary drills for individual precision, with judges “knocking them out” for failure to execute the movement precisely, until the last man or woman is standing. Northmont’s Gwen Landes placed fourth in the armed event while Desiree Wright and Emily Lambert placed second and third, respectively, in the unarmed event.
After the intense meet, the cadets spent a day relaxing on Pensacola Beach. On Monday, April 4, they toured the Naval Air Station Pensacola including the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Before journeying home on Tuesday, April 5, they watched the Blue Angels practice on their home field.
The Northmont NJROTC unit is commanded by Lt. Colonel Ken Knotts and Sr. Chief James Griffin. In attendance at the national championship were Northmont Senior High School Principal George Caras, chaperones Kendra Wadle, Shelby Riley, Laura Sharp and Rich Osterland, many Northmont parents, grandparents and siblings. The Northmont NJROTC unit appreciates the support of the Northmont community which led them to a spectacular finish against 26 of the best teams in the nation.