Top of the nation

The NJROTC unit went to Nationals, and ranked 15th in the nation.


Provided by Kieleigh Hamor

Kieleigh Hamor (‘22) stands and waits as one of her friends helps with her hair before a competition.

Bella Melby-Mazzei, Staff reporter

In the beginning of April, the NJROTC unit went to nationals, for many like Nicholas Tongco (‘24), this was their first time going. Tongco ended up ranking 9th in the nation in push ups after doing 89 push ups.

“My biggest thing in that competition was athletics. So, we have the push ups, sit ups, and the sprint. I was on push ups and I was also in both basic box and arm deck,” Tongco said.

Before nationals there were only two field meets, and Tongco had not done any field meets last year besides the online field meet.

“Nationals is two days, so it’s a lot more strict and it’s a lot longer. You got a bus ride out there two days, and then a bus ride back. It was just a lot more fun I’d say, even though we didn’t get first, which is what we want,” Tongco said.

Kieleigh Hamor (‘22) also went to Nationals, as one of the drill commanders, she led her drill box for the last time.

“That’s kind of my favorite part of ROTC, being able to command blocks, so performing with them for the last time would be my favorite,” Hamor said.

One of the things Hamor is most proud of this season is seeing the impact that she has had on certain kids.

“Over four years of being here there’s been some kids that have come up to me and basically told me how I’ve affected them and told me that they look up to me and all these things,” Hamor said.

Olivia Jenkins (‘22) spent hours practicing along with everyone on the team, trying to prepare for future meets.

“Being on staff, we have to be here at seven every morning. Then we have practice for something, whether it’s academics or drill. If we’re not doing academics, or if we’re not doing drills, then we should be doing athletics in the classroom: push ups, sit ups, work. We’re constantly working on stuff and doing something toward our next competition,” Jenkins said.

At Nationals cadets do a little bit of everything, because they will participate in many different activities.

“There are other things like sport competitions where you have one main goal, but with these kinds of competitions, we’re doing athletics, academics, and drill. We have four different drill boxes, we have three different athletics teams, and we have our academic team. There’s just so much going on all at the same time that it just makes you have to be an all around, put together person in order to do well, because it’s not like you can just show up and be like, ‘Okay, I’m good at drill so I’ll be fine.’ You’re not going to go if you’re only going to be doing one thing. So, you definitely have to be really good at multiple things,” Jenkins said.

The NJROTC unit ranked 15 out of 666 schools in the nation. The academic team was ranked 8th, while the athletic team was ranked 7th.