Stony Point achieves repeat Fort Cavazos JROTC Skills Meet victory

By Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public AffairsApril 2, 2024

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Stony Point High School, out of Round Rock, Texas, was crowned grand champion of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Skills Meet for the second year in a row March 23 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center here.

Organized in partnership with the Fort Cavazos Child and Youth Services, the School Liaison Office, the Adopt-A-School program and local independent school districts, the event drew several hundred JROTC cadets from more than a dozen schools across Central Texas vying for top honors in drill team, color guard, physical training and academics.

After a stellar performance in 2023, the team returned with a renewed dedication to build upon their previous success.

“It feels amazing,” said Cadet Ensign Riyan Patel, Stony Point drill team commander.

Patel shared that her team put in long hours to prepare for the competition, drawing upon the experience of team members past and present.

“Having some of the new cadets here and having the incoming freshmen and taking them under our wing, we really tried to encourage one another to build that company feeling, that togetherness of ROTC … keeping that motivation from last year and building on that,” she explained.

The competition was a first for the Irving High School Marine Corps JROTC team, out of Irving, Texas, said Sgt. Maj. Robert Lytle, Irving High School Marine JROTC instructor.

He shared that the team traveled almost three hours to attend the event, taking advantage of the opportunity to broaden the cadets’ horizons.

“We wanted to compete against other schools outside the Marine Corps JROTC,” Lytle explained. “It’s a growing phase. So, the more experience they get outside of the Irving High School environment, the better.”

In addition to providing a platform for JROTC cadets to test their skills against their peers, the event strengthens community relations and provides the students a glimpse into military life, explained Sgt. Maj. Isaiah Bennett, 13th Armored Corps Sustainment Command, and lead event noncommissioned officer in charge.

“It shows how involved we are in the community,” he said. “The students can come out here and live a day in the life of being on base, involved in activities and seeing what we do.”

Bennett said the competition underscored the importance of teamwork.

“Teamwork is the foundation of our great military, and with these young students out here actually working together, building that team cohesiveness, it makes them stronger, and they know they can do anything they want to do as a team. That’s what we’re all about.

“It’s a great recruiting tool,” he added, explaining that the event also provides a glimpse into the future of the armed services. “That’s how we get future leaders in our great organization.”

Spectators and fellow students cheered as cadets competed for bragging rights in the coveted armed and unarmed drill events.

The Killeen High School Army JROTC drill team impressed the judges with their spirited performance, complete with acrobatics, earning them the overall unarmed drill title. The “Roos” represented for the hometown crowd, earning top honors in the unarmed drill exhibition event and placing in the top three in six other events.

Newcomer Irving High School placed second in the academic challenge and third in the male PT event respectively.

Midway High School Marine Corps JROTC, from Waco, Texas, snagged male color guard overall honors and placed first in the academic challenge while Belton High School Marine Corps JROTC, from Belton, Texas, won the female color guard overall title and placed first in armed drill regulation, female color guard inspection and female color guard regulation.

The Alvarado High School Army JROTC team, out of Alvarado, Texas, took first in armed drill exhibition and male color guard regulation, scored the overall armed drill title and placed in the top three in four other events, challenging reigning champions Stony Point High School Navy JROTC.

But Stony Point excelled, earning first place in armed drill inspection, unarmed drill inspection and unarmed drill regulation, and placing among the top three in four other events, ultimately repeating as the overall grand champion.

Col. Lakicia Stokes, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos commander, presented cadets with trophies and highlighted the importance of the meet as she delivered closing remarks.

“This meet strengthens community relations. It also provides a no-cost opportunity for JROTC programs to compete and maintain their accreditation,” she stated. “The meet facilitates different branches of service to be exposed to the Army post and helps us to grow our own.”

She also reflected on how her own experience as an Air Force JROTC cadet impacted her military career.

“My JROTC experience played an important part in shaping my decision to enlist and later become an officer in the United States Army,” she shared.

“So, as you too live the JROTC experience,” she said to the cadets, “know whatever you choose to do in life, these skills will better prepare you for tomorrow.”