Missouri Military Academy Drill Team Finishes Fourth in Nation for Armed Masters Division, Drill Team Commander Achieves Rank as Nation’s Best

The Missouri Military Academy (MMA) Fusileer Drill Team traveled to Daytona, Florida for the National High School Drill Team Competition (NHSDTC), competing in the U.S. Army Drill National Championship on April 14 and the All Service Drill National Championship on April 15 and 16, 2022. Facing tough competition against approximately 70 schools and roughly 1500 cadets, the MMA Fusileers finished fourth in the nation in the armed masters division.

Cadet Michael Machary-Pagan, a high school senior from Lake St. Louis, Missouri, earned first place in the nation for armed commander. Cadet René Garcia Garza, a high school senior from Cadereyta Jimenez, N.L., México, earned first place honors in the armed individual drilldown competition. Below, Machary-Pagan receives his trophy at nationals.

High school drill team commander receives national award

“This year was a tough competition,” said Fusileers coach Rick Dehlinger. “The cadets truly put their hearts into the fight but unfortunately did not come out on top. We fell short of our goal to match or exceed last year’s achievements, but I am extremely proud of these cadets and their dedication.”

In 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.

“We expected that this year was going to be a more competitive year than last year, and it was. Our cadets worked extremely hard, were aggressive, competed with heart, and were not timid in the face of top-notch competition. There were some uncharacteristic mistakes that they know can be corrected, which gives them motivation and determination for next year,” said MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret).  “I am very proud of our cadets. They have consistently demonstrated that they can compete with the very best at the national level and do very well."

High school drill team

A complete list of the Fusileers’ team results from the All-Service Drill National Championship competition is as follows:

  • Armed Commander: 1st place in the nation
  • Armed Overall: 4th
  • Armed Regulation: 3rd
  • Armed Color Guard: 4th
  • Armed Exhibition: 5th
  • Armed Inspection: 10th
  • Unarmed Color Guard: 6th
  • Unarmed Commander: 9th
  • Unarmed Regulation: 9th
  • Unarmed Overall: 10th
  • Unarmed Inspection: 10th
  • Unarmed Exhibition: 10th

In addition to Garcia Garza’s first place performance in the armed individual drilldown competition, Cadet Parker Woodruff, a senior from Ballwin, Missouri, earned second place. Cadet Zijie Zhou, a sophomore from Shenzhen, China, placed sixth, and Brody Ruckman, a seventh grader from Willard, Missouri, placed ninth. In the unarmed individual drilldown competition, Cadet Domingo Holguin, a high school freshman from El Paso, Texas, earned seventh place, and Woodruff placed eighth.

The Fusileers’ team results from the U.S. Army Drill National Championship on April 14 are as follows:

  • Armed Overall: 5th
  • Armed Inspection: 9th
  • Armed Regulation: 3rd
  • Armed Color Guard: 11th
  • Armed Exhibition: 7th
  • Armed Solo: 7th (Cadet Yu-Jen Tong)
  • Armed Dual: 12th (Cadets Tong and Brennan Williams)
  • Unarmed Overall: 21st
  • Unarmed Inspection: 26th
  • Unarmed Regulation: 19th
  • Unarmed Color Guard: 19th
  • Unarmed Exhibition: 23rd

Congratulations to the following Fusileers Drill Team members for their achievements:

Armed Exhibition

  • Agustin Anaya Cisneros (Monterrey, N.L., México)
  • Gage Blanton (Newburg, Missouri)
  • René Garcia Garza (Cadereyta Jimenez, N.L., México)
  • Michael Henderson (Greenbrier, Arkansas)
  • Domingo Holguin (El Paso, Texas)
  • Gabriel Iglesias Osorio, Color Guard Commander (Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador)
  • Michael Machary-Pagan, Commander (Lake St. Louis, Missouri)
  • Patricio Regis (Parkville, Missouri)
  • Yu-Jen Tong (Shanghai, China)
  • Brennan Williams (Lee’s Summit, Missouri)
  • Gorka-Aitor Yarte-Zertuche (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Zijie Zhou (Shenzhen, China)

Unarmed Exhibition

  • Connor Edwards (Winter Park, Florida)
  • Walter Farley (Evansville, Indiana)
  • Kruze Hagan, Exhibition Commander (Kirksville, Missouri)
  • Matthew Hallam (Dallas, Texas)
  • Aaron Huynh (Prestonburg, Kentucky)
  • Isaac Krentz (Roeland Park, Kansas)
  • Nathaniel Laughlin (Richhill, Missouri)
  • Damian Moore (Ocala, Florida)
  • Kellan Mugisha (Kigali, Rwanda)
  • Ishmwe Noble (Kigali, Rwanda)
  • Diego Pineda (San Salvador, El Salvador)
  • River Punab-Mitchell (Kodiak, Alaska)
  • Brody Ruckman (Willard, Missouri)
  • Alan Salazar De la Paz (Allende, N.L., México)
  • Patricio Sanchez Berentsen (Juriquilla Queretaro, México)
  • Lucas Sydlewski (Houlton, Wisconsin)
  • Duane Thompson (Troy, Missouri)
  • Bradley Thumbi (Overland Park, Kansas)
  • Angelo Urdaneta, Color Guard Commander (Boca Raton, Florida)
  • Alejandro Villarreal (Santa Catarina, México)
  • Carlos Villarreal (Santa Catarina, México)
  • Preston Vo (Allen, Texas)
  • Samuel Way (Milton, Georgia)
  • Parker Woodruff, Regulation Commander (Ballwin, Missouri)
High school drill team


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