Norwich’s drill team aims for first-place gold in competition

The Norwich Drill Team is already preparing for its highlight competition at Tulane University in New Orleans. They have gotten second place for the past five years, but are determined to take first place this upcoming February, said the Drill Team’s company commander, Rod Torres.

 

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The Drill Team has competed in the Tulane competition in New Orleans, La., since 2003 during the middle of March, but this year will be competing on Feb. 13, 2015.

Unlike past years, this trip will not be during midterms, so students will be missing four days of school, according to Torres, who is a 22-year-old senior psychology major from Lubbock, Texas.

Torres will be competing in the exhibition platoon (since he is the Shock Platoon captain) and squad.

The teams that will be competing in the competition are inspection, regulation, squad, and the exhibition or shock platoon, explained Torres. Members are working hard to hone their skills and finally take a gold. “We practice two hours a day on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and the weekends, but will be practicing everyday shortly,” he says.

The team will drive to Manchester, N.H., and then fly straight to New Orleans, and stay at the La Quinta Inn. Every year the Drill Team and its competitions have a specific budget set aside by the school.

The drill team will have a series of events during that week. The competition will be on day three, but a performance at the Pelicans NBA game will be on day one, practice in the NFL Saints facility will be on two, and marching in the Mardi Gras parade will be on day four.

Matthew Agaman, a 19-year old junior English and education major from Jersey City, N.J., who is the Drill Team’s First Sergeant said the team is pushing hard for the win. “I am excited for getting first and beating our main rival Texas A&M, and taking home the gold.” Agaman went to Tulane last year and is determined to come in first place this year.

“Traditionally we have gotten second place, but this year we have a much better level of natural talent,” Agaman said, “ so it’s a lot easier to mold that into standards of the competition.”

“We are restructuring the exhibition team sequence to be better than it has been,” Agaman said. He added he felt that “in previous years the practices have been uncontrolled and unstructured.”

“This year we are restructuring them from the basics up, settling in that foundation before we move on to the more complicated maneuvers,” Agaman said.

The sequence will be more accessible for people who want to join the exhibition team, according to Agaman, and allow members to perfect their talents. “We are no longer doing a sequence for nine people; we are doing a sequence for 16.” Starting in mid-October, the freshmen will be getting trained to help supplement the exhibition platoon.

This year there will be 25 drill members competing at Tulane, according to Torres.

Devan Killilea, a 20-year old junior Chinese major from Quincy, Mass., is hoping he can go this year. Killilea said that he makes sure to, “practice, practice, practice” every single day. “I am looking forward to the competition, I love the thrill of it,” said Killilea.

Killilea is a member of the regulation team and the inspection team. The regulation team marches with the rifles; the inspection team is asked a series of questions and inspected by drill sergeants.

Allison Miller, a 19-year-old sophomore computer security and information assurance major from Long Island, N.Y., did go to Tulane last year. “It was very nerve-wracking and I was still a trainee, but I thought it was a very good experience.”

“We come together as a team, we practice as a team, and it was and will be a great team-building experience,” Miller said.

“We almost live drill, being in the company, always have that mindset and competition aspect,” Torres said. “ Other schools have a slotted time for drill; we live drill and talk about drill. That’s what we live for, always trying to find ways to constantly improve.”

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