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Arlington JROTC students place at drill & rifle state championship

Arlington High School students, from left, Anthony Morehead, Lauren Daley and Reina Quimzon join Deona Pineda, who is wearing a chrome helmet, during a celebration during a school competition on April 17. - Courtesy Photo
Arlington High School students, from left, Anthony Morehead, Lauren Daley and Reina Quimzon join Deona Pineda, who is wearing a chrome helmet, during a celebration during a school competition on April 17.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

ARLINGTON — The demanding work put in by a group of Arlington High School students recently paid off.

Cadets from the high school’s U.S. Air Force JROTC program competed on April 17 at the Northwest Drill & Rifle Washington State Championship, which took place at Oak Harbor High School.

Three teams of students from the program’s color guard, drill team and physical strength team, all took part in the meet, which pits the best school programs in the state against one another, said Major Mike Blue, Arlington’s JROTC instructor.

“Teams from all the way from Port Angeles to Vancouver, Washington and Burlington to the north,” Blue said. “I was happy with the amount of dedication that they put into practicing every day. They had some personal challenges to overcome and they had to get past their own differences and gel as a team.”

The JROTC team’s color guard and physical strength teams each took sixth place in their respective competitions.

The color guard is made up of seniors Jon Pallagi, Deona Pineda, Becca Wadey and Kim Castaneda.

“This is their last hurray,” Blue said. “They spend hours prepping their uniforms, polishing shoes, grilling each other on ribbons, uniforms, knowledge, memorization — it’s almost like a mini knowledge bowl.”

The strength team consists of Anthony Craig, James Roe, Bryan Leaf, Hunter Craig, David Smith, Anthony Morehead, Kycia Montero, Reina Quimzon, Castaneda and Wadey.

“What they’re judged on is basically how many sit-ups and push-ups they can do in a two minute span and their mile run times,” Blue said. “It’s the least subjective of the events.”

The drill team didn’t place in the top six, but Blue said the group “gave it their all and dominate their competition in the exhibition routine portion.”

Arlington High School students on the drill team are Lauren Daley, Dale Cherrier, Steven Campo, Leticia Saldana, Kriszel Pineda, Christina Price, Mariah Harlin, Connie Dauz, Alice Moore, Dana Canaria and Montero and Quimzon.

In order to qualify for the competition, schools had to place in the top four of their divisions. Twelve schools compete in each of nine events, and three of Arlington High School’s five teams made to the April event.

“They showed definite pride and camaraderie,” Blue said.

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