Missouri Military Academy Fusileers Earn First and Second Place Finishes at National Drill Team Competitions
The Missouri Military Academy Fusileer Drill Team traveled to Daytona, Florida for the 2021 National High School Drill Team Competition (NHSDTC), competing in the US Army Drill National Championship on Friday, May 1 and the All Service Drill National Championship on Saturday, May 2, 2021. The Fusileers placed first in the nation in Armed Regulation at the All Service Nationals Master Level and first in the nation for Armed Color Guard for both the All Service Nationals Master Level and the US Army Drill National Championship.
The national competition capped off a successful competitive year for the MMA team, which has earned a total of 49 trophies, including 20 first place finishes, competing in six contests in Missouri (Ozark, Waynesville, Joplin, Blue Springs), Kansas (Leavenworth) and Daytona, Florida (nationals).
The Fusileers also earned a first place finish in the the Association of Military Colleges & Schools of the United States (AMCSUS) national drill competition (held virtually), competing against military schools from across the nation, such as Marine Military Academy, Randolph-Macon Academy, Army and Navy Academy, Riverside Military Academy, Fork Union Military Academy, Fishburne Military School, St. John’s Northwestern, Valley Forge Academy and more.
“This year’s Fusileers team has brought back MMA’s tradition of success at the national level, competing with the nation’s top drill teams,” said MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret). “They demonstrate MMA's high expectations and pursuit of excellence, as well as our cadets’ hard work, self-discipline and teamwork — all characteristics of a premier military boarding school.”
The team also placed second in the nation in Armed JROTC Drill, Armed Exhibition Team and Armed Commanders Cup at the All Service Nationals Master Level.
The MMA drill team also earned the following additional NHSDTC honors at the All Service Nationals Master Level:
- Armed Inspection, 3rd
- Armed Squad Exhibition, 4th
- Unarmed Platoon Exhibition, 5th
- Unarmed Squad Exhibition, 5th
- Unarmed Color Guard, 5th
- Unarmed Regulation, 5th
- Unarmed Commanders trophy, 5th
- Unarmed Overall, 5th
Five MMA cadets — Cadets Gorka Yarte-Zertuche, Gabriel Iglesias, Phasakorn Cunningham, Ezekiel Richardson and Michael Henderson — finished in the top 10 out of 400 cadets drilling in Armed and Unarmed Individual Drill Knockout Competition:
- Gabriel Iglesias, 1st in Armed Individual Drill Down (IDD) Army Nationals and 6th place in Armed IDD All Service Drill Nationals
- Phasakorn Cunningham, 2nd place in Unarmed IDD All Service Drill Nationals
- Gorka Yarte-Zertuche, 4th place in Unarmed IDD All Service Drill Nationals and 7th place in Armed IDD All Service Drill Nationals
- Ezekiel Richardson, 7th place in Unarmed IDD All Service Drill Nationals
- Michael Henderson, 10th place in Armed IDD All Service Drill Nationals
Led by Cadet Drill Team Commander Bryce Bowen, members of the Fusileers Drill Team competing in the national contest in Daytona included Cadets Braeden Andrews, Dhalil Belko, Gage Blanton, Damien Brown, Dmitri Cary, Mutale Chilufya, Phasakorn Cunningham, Rene Garcia Garza, Matthew Hallam, Matthew Hamilton, Michael Henderson, Domingo Holguin, Gabriel Iglesias Osorio, Migaruka Bruno Kuzwayezu, Diego Lopez, Michael Machary-Pagan, Jude Mesa, Lance Newland, Victor Patino Matos, Patricio Regis, Ezekiel Richardson, Kevith Sangster, Yu-Jen Tong, Sun Kit Tsui, Angelo Urdaneta, Timothy Varley, Kevin Wang, Brennan Williams, Parker Woodruff and Gorka Yarte-Zertuche. The team is coached by Rick Dehlinger, MMA Class of 1993.
Watch the Fusileers' winning AMSCUS performance from Dec. 2020:
Missouri Military Academy is an all-male, college preparatory military boarding school (middle school and high school) with a diverse domestic and international student population. The Academy’s rigorous program empowers young men to reach their potential as future college graduates, citizens of character, and leaders in their communities. MMA’s 360˚ Education® fosters academic excellence, a healthy lifestyle and physical development, leadership and life skills, positive character development, and personal motivation. For more information, visit MissouriMilitaryAcademy.org.
The NHSDTC remains the oldest, largest and finest all-service drill and ceremony competition, annually assembled in sunny Daytona Beach, Florida. Sponsored for decades by the U.S. Army Cadet Command, "the Grand Nationals" (as this legendary event has grown to be recognized) features school-aged drill and ceremony units of all ability levels and from all of the four service branches.