Bellevue West hosts annual drill meet
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On Saturday April 1, the drill team hosted the 17th Annual Bellevue Invitational drill meet. Because the competition was a home event, the drill team had different responsibilities compared to those of an away competition.
“Hosting our own drill meet means that we must draft our own operating instruction, invite other schools, develop the performance schedule, setup the venues for competition, get the trophies, judges, scoring apparatus, and enlist nearly 300 Bellevue West and East cadets to work,” Col. Scott Vanderhoof said. “It’s quite different.”
The competition included six categories in which 15 schools from four different states competed in. It featured both armed and unarmed categories.
“Armed and unarmed categories include regulation, a scripted set of commands to which the team marches; and exhibition, a unique choreographed performance that the team makes up,” Vanderhoof said. “The last category is color guard, which is what AFJROTC does at the opening of basketball and football games.”
In addition to those categories the drill team competed with a sabre team, which is unique to most drill competitions, and a first-year unarmed regulation team.
“The sabre team rarely gets to perform at drill meets because other schools only march with rifles; very few have sabre teams that actually perform as an exhibition team,” Vanderhoof said. “The first-year team includes cadets who are in their first year in the program, whether or not they are freshmen.”
$15,000 of scholarship money was awarded to category winners and Bellevue East and West cadets. Bellevue West placed first overall in Unarmed competition, and third overall for the Grand Champion trophy. Vanderhoof said that neither Bellevue West or East take trophies as the host school.
“Competing at school was easier for me because I had my friends and family present,” junior DeVaughn Station said. “The competition went extremely well from a logistical viewpoint.”
The drill team will conclude their season at Nationals on April 29.
“We qualify for Nationals every year, however we haven’t attended a national meet since 2014,” Vanderhoof said. “This year, we will attend a national meet at the Air Force Academy.”