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ASU Pershing Rifles Compete in National Drill Competition

042104rotcgroup_dl.jpgFort Monroe, Va.—On March 27, the Appalachian State University Pershing Rifles Drill Team competed against 15 other collegiate teams during the annual National Pershing Rifles Competition held at Fort Monroe, Va.

Teams came from as far south as Florida and as far west as Texas, and as always, one of Appalachian’s greatest rivals, Clemson University, was there to defend the national title.

The ASU Pershing Rifles has a long, proud history of being a top competitor at the event and had won the previous two out of three national championships. Clemson won the championship in 2003, and the Appalachian team was eager to reclaim the title.

On the first day of competition, Cadets Brandon Spence, Ryan Johnson, Andrew Besser, Gwyn Hollar, Andrew Thomas, Brian Miller, Marie Stockham, Hunter Opilla, Derrick McGinnis, Rebecca Lesemann took the field with pride and determination.

Four of the cadets are new to the team, and only three had returned from the winning 2002 team. Their hard work was evident. The team won third place in the squad exhibition competition, led by Cadet Lesemann.

After completing the preliminary events, things heated up when Cadets Spence and Thomas took the field for the first duet competition. Everything else stopped as expectations grew and rumors spread across the parade field that they were the best.

Some of the spectators recognized Spence from two years ago. During the five minute routine, the other competitors and spectators watched as Spence and Thomas lived up to their expectations and delivered. Even Clemson knew they had no chance at winning that event.

After the duet, cadets had only 10 minutes to begin the individual competition. Nearly exhausted, Spence and Thomas regrouped, changed focus and waited for their names to be called. After a few competitors demonstrated their skills, Spence was called to the center of the field. He again demonstrated excellence by executing a flawless, original routine that left the spectators and the drill sergeant judges impressed. Thomas followed Spence with his own individual routine.

When the results were announced, Spence and Thomas took first place in the duet competition and second and third place respectively in the individual competition. In addition to taking third place in the squad exhibition competition, the team won the Commander’s Award for best overall leadership, impression, enthusiasm, stamina, and teamwork.

At the end of the day, the Mountaineers stood in the middle of the field, proud of their accomplishments.

The Mountaineers did an outstanding job training and performing and walked away victorious that day and proud of the job they had done.

There is still the taste for revenge as they prepare for the next competition against Clemson and the other national teams next year.

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