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SSHS is overall champion in JROTC drill competition

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SAIPAN Southern High School’s Manta Ray Battalion reigned supreme in the armed and unarmed divisions of the CNMI Multiple School Unit JROTC Drill Competition at the Koblerville Gym on Saturday.

For its victory, the Manta Ray Battalion will represent the CNMI in the Golden Bear West Coast National Drill Meet on April 20 in Torrance California, battalion commander C/LTC Roger Valencia said.

“This is the first time that we will [join the national competition] as cadets from one school and not as a CNMI multi-school unit,” he added.

SSHS Senior Army instructor Richard Basa commended his cadets for their dedication, saying they deserved to get the overall trophy.

“They spent countless hours of drill practice, rain or shine,” he said. “If it is raining, they [practiced] in the hallway and if it was hot, they practiced under the sun.”

He said the cadets started practicing their drills in the last week of September — two hours on weekdays and four hours on Saturdays.

Saipan Southern High School’s Manta Ray cadets pose for a photo after being named the overall winner of CNMI Multiple School Unit JROTC Drill Competition at the Koblerville Gym on Saturday.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

“We put so many hours [practicing] for this. It required hard work and dedication. ‘One team’ is what we like to preach,” Valencia said.

But Basa said they have not received word yet from the Public School System and the Board of Education leaders if the cadets will be allowed to join the national competition.

“The coronavirus situation is likely to be a factor for PSS and the BOE to consider when deciding whether to allow the cadets to fly to California or not,” Basa said.

On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Valencia said they if are allowed to compete in the nationals, “we will be extra-cautious.”

C/CPT. Roma Malasarte said they understand the concerns, but “it is our goal to compete in the Golden Bear competition and we feel like it is our time to make history. We know that their [education officials’] decision is always based on ‘Students First,’ but we got to do what have to do.”

Results

Overall winner in Armed Division: Saipan Southern High School

Armed Inspection

1) Saipan Southern High School

2) Dr. Rita H. Inos High School

3) Tinian Jr./Sr. High School

4) Marianas High School

Armed Color Guard

1) Dr. Rita H. Inos High School

2) Saipan Southern High School

3) Tinian Jr./Sr. High School

4) Marianas High School

Armed Regulation

1) Saipan Southern High School

2) Tinian Jr./Sr. High School

3) Dr. Rita H. Inos High School

4) Marianas High School

Armed Exhibition

1) Marianas High School

2) Dr. Rita H. Inos High School

3) Saipan Southern High School

4) Tinian Jr./Sr. High School

Overall Winner in Unarmed Division: Saipan Southern High School

Unarmed Inspection

1) Saipan Southern High School

2) Tinian Jr./Sr. High School

3) Kagman High School, Dr. Rita H. Inos High School (tie)

4) Marianas High School

Unarmed Color Guard

1) Saipan Southern High School

2) Dr. Rita H. Inos High School

3) Tinian Jr./Sr. High School

4) Marianas High School

5) Kagman High School

Unarmed Regulation

1) Saipan Southern High School

2) Kagman High School

3) Tinian Jr./Sr. High School

4) Marianas High School

5) Dr. Rita H. Inos High School

Unarmed Exhibition

1) Saipan Southern High School

2) Kagman High School

3) Tinian Jr./Sr. High School

4) Dr. Rita H. Inos High School

5) Marianas High School

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