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Cadets from Spotsylvania County's "Triple Threat" Drill Team Color Guard competed recently at the JROTC National Drill Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the group earned sixth place out of the 40 top qualifying teams across the country.
The team consists of students from Chancellor, Courtland and Riverbend high schools and are coached by retired Master Sgt. Mose Mallard III.
The color guard is made up of seniors Richard Cedres and Mitchell Harrison of Courtland, senior Rey Rivera of Chancellor and sophomore Seth Layton of Riverbend.
Senior Karan Sharma of Chancellor also performed an individual armed solo exhibition and placed 14th.
This past drill team season has been one of many victories, Mallard said. In January, at the Martin Luther King Jr. competition in Richmond, the Triple Threat's color guard won first place among 25 schools from Maryland, Washington and Virginia area.
In March, cadets also won first place in the Master Level Color Guard at Forestville Military Academy in Maryland.
The wins qualified the color guard for nationals. The team stepped up practices for two months to get ready to face teams from across the nation, as well as from the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force JROTC programs.
The color guard is only a small portion of the Triple Threat drill team, which consists of regulation and exhibition platoons, squads, and inspections--all of which have armed and unarmed categories. Every year, the team wins more than a dozen trophies.
"This year has been the most exciting, " said Cedres, team captain and battalion commander. "I know this will be a moment I'll never forget."
The Color Guard fell three points short of its goal; however, the experience will give members something to build on for the future, Mallard said.
This is the third time the Triple Threat team has sent representatives to the national competition. Seniors Cedres and Harrison competed at Daytona Beach two years ago as sophomores, earning 14th place. Evan Bezeredi, a 2009 graduate of Chancellor, also earned ninth place as an armed exhibition soloist.
Mallard and the team wanted to thank the community and school for support, especially booster club members Sheri Layton and Kathi Bezeredi.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425