The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System 2023 Drill Competition

Story by: C/SGT Angel Li and C/SGT Sophia Shin Debengek

SAIPAN, CNMI — The Annual CNMI PSS JROTC Drill Competition was held on the campuses of Marianas High School, Saipan Southern High School, Kagman High School, Rota High School, and Tinian High School throughout February 23 to the 26th. The competition is held annually between public high schools on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

“I was nervous before Comp. It was my first time competing on campus for the armed drill team. New routine, difficult moves, and a lot of pressure.” -C/MAJ Silva Vince

“Honestly, before the competition, I was so ready to knock out. I was too tired to be nervous. However, it kicked in before inspection started and I wanted to do well for our team captain. It’s her last year being commander, and many of us were determined to make her last year the best.” -C/SGT Singca Trixia

The Dolphin Battalion Armed Drill Team (Photo Credit: C/SGT Angel Li and C/SGT Sophia Shin Debengek)

The cadets have trained hard and prepared themselves to compete in the CNMI Wide Drill Competition in hopes to compete in the 2023 West Coast Golden Bear Nationals in California. The competition was fierce and intense with all the public high schools from the CNMI showcasing their performance in front of their very own schools with a lot of students, staff, teachers and cadets watching the drill performance to support the drill team. A few invited guests such as a few Army instructors and Army recruiters judged the competition, the stakes were high and the pressure was on for the competing teams. The competition lasted for a thrilling two hours, with each cadet giving it their all to come out on top.

“Personally, I wasn’t feeling very nervous because I have competed before and I know for a fact that the feeling of nervousness would hit me right as I entered the drill pad but I was feeling very confident in my cadets.” -C/CPT, Armed Co-Captain Yang Kevin

“This year’s drill comp kids were great with the numbers, especially for my team. The motivation they showed was fantastic, it was great. This year, they did better than last school year, but I’m pretty sure next school year they can do better.” -C/CSM, Armed Captain Venus James

The Dolphin Battalion Unarmed Drill Team (Photo Credit: C/SGT Angel Li and C/SGT Sophia Shin Debengek)

The results of the CNMI Drill Comp were announced through a video call with all the high schools and the VIPs including the Army recruiters and instructors. The Unarmed team soared to new heights with an impressive 3rd place in Unarmed Inspection and a stunning 2nd place for Unarmed Color Guard. But that’s not all, they also triumphed in the Unarmed Regulation and Exhibition, taking home first place in both categories. The incredible performance secured them a fantastic 2nd place overall. Meanwhile, the Armed team showcased their remarkable skills and precision, they were able to win 2nd place in the Armed Inspection and Armed Color Guard. Although they faced tough competition, they were able to secure 3rd place in Armed Regulation and Exhibition, earning them an impressive 3rd place overall. The 2nd place Unarmed overall achieved a spot in the West Coast Golden Bear Novice Category in California.

“It was a sudden burst of joy. The first thing I thought about were my cadets, how well they did, and how hard they worked. In the past three years, my unarmed team hasn’t qualified for nationals, so we’re new to this experience, but I’m absolutely confident we’ll do better than we did on island, and win some gold on the mainland.” -C/CPT, Unarmed Captain Alovera Abigail

“It feels surreal that we get to represent the CNMI again. Although my team and I are somewhat prepped, a little practice and refreshments could help us be better. We can’t wait to showcase what we got and bring it to Golden Bear.” -C/CPT, Unarmed Co-Captain, Legaspi Allyssa Ariel

The Dolphin Battalion Armed Drill Team inspection (Photo Credit: C/SGT Angel Li and C/SGT Sophia Shin Debengek)

“I’m so beyond proud of what the drill teams and color guard were able to accomplish in a short amount of time. We have faced many bumps on the road to drill comp but in the end, I’m glad we were able to pull through. Although we weren’t perfect, we still were able to impress ourselves and the judges with what the Dolphin Battalion was able to do in three short months. Once again, I’m very proud of the drill teams and they should be proud too.” -C/LTC Dimalanta Shaina

“The way my cadets performed was just short of amazing. I was very happy about all the hard work and the efforts they put into it. I came up with an idea to bring them into the drill pad. This was to show them off in front of the judges, students, and parents.” -SFC (RET.) Army Instructor Lujan Albert

“Overall, from my observation during the Dill Competition, the cadets did tremendously awesome. Watching them put in the time and effort after school and them performing, even though we got overall 2nd place, in my eyes, they are all number 1.” -LTC (RET.) Senior Army Instructor Gregorio Sablan

Drill Instructors and support staff at the Annual CNMI PSS JROTC Drill Competition (Photo Credit: C/SGT Angel Li and C/SGT Sophia Shin Debengek)