By NewsLine Staff
Nease High School’s NJROTC’s varsity drill team extended its winning streak of Jacksonville area drill competitions, winning the Terry Parker Drill Meet on Dec. 10 in Jacksonville — making it eight straight Navy northern Florida drill championships covering the past four years. Nease won the Mandarin NJROTC Drill Meet earlier this fall. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 Nease swept both the Mandarin and Terry Parker drill meet championships beating out 11 other NJROTC challengers from northern Florida and the state of Georgia in each competition.
Nease is currently the #1 ranked NJROTC unit in Area 12 and has been for five consecutive years. In 2015, Nease was the #1 JROTC program in the nation.
“We brought in seven alternates to fill in for this meet as many seniors were taking the ACT(s),” said cadet Jesse Gatewood winner of the individual knockout drill medal. “But taking a page from the New England Patriots’ ‘next man up’ philosophy, we barely missed a beat.”
In addition to claiming the top overall trophy, Nease picked up first place trophies for Personnel Inspection, Academics, Athletics, Armed Exhibition Drill, Push Ups, and Sit Ups.
With its earlier victory at Mandarin, Nease has already secured a spot in the 16-team Navy Area 12 Drill Championships to be held on March 4 in central Georgia. Before that, the team will travel to Tallahassee next month to compete at the Florida A&M University NJROTC Drill Meet.
Several Nease cadets received individual medals during the competition. Cadets Erin Sass, Lilly Short, Krista Ecker, Teagan Pettit, Ian Kleiber, Jacob Hunt, Brian Swicegood, Christopher Oliver, Jesse Gatewood and Lucas Pels received individual medals in athletics. Cadets Dane Barber, Scott Cummings and Eduardo Evans received medals for academics. Cadet Jesse Gatewood won the individual knockout drill competition.
“I’ve been doing this a long time (13 years),” said Nease’s Naval Science Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Duane Hanson. “These young men and women always seem to step up to the challenge.”
Other top schools in the competition were Mandarin High School, second place; Cross Creek High School, third place; Orange Park High School fourth place; and Fleming Island High School, fifth place.
Nease NJROTC’s 40-cadet drill team celebrates winning the Terry Parker Drill Meet Championship on Dec. 10.