Cheney Free Press -

By AL STOVER
Staff Reporter 

JROTC drill team gears up for upcoming competition

 

Al Stover

Medical Lake High School JROTC cadets (left to right) Josh Strieb, Maggie McGowan and Josh Whitcher each have a different role on the drill team.

Medical Lake High School Junior ROTC's drill team is kicking it into high gear for the Feb. 25 Silverwings Drill Competition they are hosting.

The team began their season at the Nov. 5 Silverwings competition at Redmond High School in Oregon. They were scheduled to compete in two other events, but those were canceled because of the weather.

The team's drill practice begins at 6:45 a.m., Monday through Friday and cadets are expected to be front and center. Senior cadet Josh Strieb said this year's team is comprised of 20 first-year students, along with some experienced cadets

"Everyone starts out at a different pace, which makes it a little hard," logistics officer Josh Whitcher said.

"The great thing about new students joining the team, there are no bad habits," senior cadet Maggie McGowan added. "They're getting better."

Last year, Streib, along with McGowan's sister and Medical Lake graduate, Katie McGowan, competed in the National High School Drill Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Strieb also won the solo armed drill competition at the Cascade League. His goal for this year's team hasn't changed a lot from last year - bring more cadets to nationals.

"I'm more motivated this year," Strieb said. "I've also made it a personal goal to help set the team up for success for next year."

This year Streib leads the squad, which has about 40-50 cadets, in routines and the group's performance is graded by judges. He and cadet Robert Urquidez will perform solo armed drill routines.

McGowan and Robert Urquidez's sister, Angela Urquidez, are doing an unarmed dual exhibition routine. The duo will perform movements that reflect military bearing while being in sync with one another, something Streib described as a "military dance."

"Angela and I were like 'we can do that,'" McGowan said, referring to how she and her partner decided to form a dual routine. "It's much harder than I thought it would be and I have more respect for those who do dual (routines)."

Another element of JROTC drill teams are uniforms. As a logistics officer, Whitcher is in charge of uniforms and making sure cadets have them cleaned before a competition.

Strieb said the Medical Lake competition will feature the Cardinals performing against schools from Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

"The next couple of weeks of practice are going to be more of a workload," he said. During that time, the team will determine who will compete on Feb. 25.

Another goal for the team is to earn the Community Service ribbon. Strieb said the ribbon is given to JROTC groups that are in the top 10 percent of community service hours.

The team's community projects include volunteering at local events and maintaining a portion of South Clear Lake Road. The group also performs color guard duties at athletic and local events.

"We also help leadership and other classes," Strieb said. "Usually on Memorial Day, we'll go to the Veterans Cemetery and place small flags on the headstones."

Al Stover can be reached at al@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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