Harlingen High School Black Guard team prepares for Nationals

The Harlingen High School JROTC Black Guard Drill Team was nominated as one in fifteen teams to take part in the United States Army Cadet Command JROTC National Drill Championships and the National “All Services” Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida on April 14-16, 2022.

They were selected by Cadet Command’s 5th Brigade which is responsible for Army JROTC programs in a region that includes Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas.

“We are the only drill team out of the Rio Grande Valley, and out of South Texas,” HHS ROTC Instructor Master Sergeant Juan Gonzales said. “These are the top teams that advance from the San Antonio competition. Our team has been blessed to be nominated for the last seven years.”

The HHS JROTC Black Guard is preparing for the following events:

Unit Inspection which involves cadets and a Cadet Commander standing inspection in front of four event judges looking for verbal and visual excellence.

Regulation and Color Guard drills which are comprised of graded, memorized movements performed in sequence for judge evaluation.

Exhibition Drill which allows units to perform both unarmed and armed movements left to the imagination of the drill team in a military framework.

“Freshman year and sophomore year before we went into lockdown, we went to competition,” senior Ariana Palomo said. “The experience is all types of emotions. You’re frustrated, you’re happy, you’re energetic, and at the same time, you are tired because they wake you up so early just to get ready. Out of the four years of high school, in everything that I have been in, this is probably the best thing that I have done for myself.”

Inside a classroom, the girls practiced for the inspection portion of the competition.

“Right now, they are just asking me questions and I have to give them the answer with a strong voice,” sophomore Devanny Tellez said. “Even if you don’t know the answer, you have to be confident and you cannot hesitate. I consider this team and the sergeant like my family so, to go to Florida and experience all that, I am just excited.”

Outside, exhibition commander and senior Luis De Lara led the boys through a practice routine.

“We are practicing our exhibition routine, which is freestyle militarized routine,” De Lara said. “I am feeling pretty good. I am confident in the team. I think we got what it takes to go there and perform well.”

The HHS Black Guard Drill Team was approved to travel for this competition at the March Board Meeting.

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