Riverhead NJROTC drill team takes top honors at annual meet in Mastic

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Ensign Thomas Kopp watches as Lt. Amanda Gallo and Ensign Harold Hubbard high five after Riverhead was announced as the winner of the annual drill meet in Mastic Saturday afternoon.

Coming off their first-place finish in a Mattituck drill meet in December, the Riverhead Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps drill team continued its winning ways Saturday afternoon, taking home first place and nine awards at the William Floyd Annual Drill Meet and Air Rifle Competition in Mastic.

The Riverhead team finished first in the Varsity Color Guard, First-Year Color Guard, First-Year Academic Achievement and Armed Drill, for which there was a tie for first place with Southold NJROTC. The students came in second place in the Armed Inspection and Unarmed Drill (both ties with Linden) and won third place honors for First-Year Squad Drill and First-Year Inspection.

Riverhead  finished second in the Tug of War competition, beating the Southold and William Floyd teams before falling to Bethel.

Riverhead cadet ‘Aleki Lui was  honored as the first-year NJROTC student with the highest academic achievement out of the eight schools that participated.

Unit commander Lt. Col. Peter McCarthy said the William Floyd meet was a chance for the younger NJROTC students to shine, unlike the high-tension Mattituck qualifying match in December.

“This is more of a fun meet for us,” he said. “We can use it to give some of the younger cadets a chance.”

Lt. Col. McCarthy said many of the students who competed in Saturday’s event were participating in a drill meet for the first time. “I was really happy with their performance,” he said.

So were Lt. Amanda Gallo, commanding officer of the Riverhead unit, and Ensign Harold Hubbard, a drill team and platoon commander, who jumped and high-fived after the corps was awarded first place.

The Southold NJROTC also competed in the event and took home three awards. It tied with Riverhead for first place in Armed Drill and took first place in Varsity Academics and third place in First-Year Academics.

Riverhead’s team will compete in a North Rockland competition later this month and will then travel to Middletown, N.Y. in early May for the Area 4 Finals. The corps will hold a Chinese Auction fundraiser at Riverhead High School on April 21.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Riverhead NJROTC drill team pose with their trophies after the meet.