The Saipan Southern High School’s Manta Ray Drill Team won the West Coast National Championship in this year’s Golden Bear West Coast Drill Nationals at Torrance, California, on April 28, 2013.
The SSHS team bested 55 competing schools from all over the U.S. West Coast to take home the first place Sweepstakes Trophy in the Armed Varsity Division.
The team also won individual awards that included first place in the Tap Out Unarmed Division for Jude Palacios; first place in drill exhibition; and first place as best commander for Alexander Ito.
The team’s other awards are second place, color guard; second place, armed marching; third place, two-man team; sixth place, inspection regulation; and 9th place, four-man team.
Acting Saipan Southern High School principal Lynn O. Mendiola praised the team’s success, saying, “The students put in countless hours of practice to prepare for this event since last October. Our students placed in every category that they competed in and did an outstanding job! I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to all the parents that supported their child to put in so much time and dedication in the JROTC program, as well as our two instructors, SGM [Joaquin] Kiyoshi and SGM [Richard] Basa, who go above and beyond what is needed of them. They saw potential in our students and encouraged them to share the talents that they possessed. We share our success with the whole CNMI. This is our win.”
The group arrived in Los Angeles on April 24 and is scheduled to return to Saipan tomorrow evening, April 30.
The drill team is composed of battalion commander Jayson Arriola, Alexander Ito, Mark Kapileo, Mark Villones, Joshua Tydingco, Jude Palacios, Kristopher Morales, Conrad Calub, William Johnson, Edjay Sablan, Amante Andrada, James Kintaro, Derick Dela Cruz, Kimo Olopai, Sheela Marie Saraff, and Bennylynn Ada.
The group’s chaperones are principal Mendiola, administrative officer Romana Maratita, and JROTC instructors SGM Joaquin Kiyoshi and SGM Richard Basa. (Saipan Tribune)