University of Rochester Naval ROTC – On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Rochester Naval Reserve Officer Training Command (NROTC) Battalion competed in the annual Cornell University Invitational Drill Competition, composed of various drill and athletic events. Rivals at the competition included such notable military institutions as the U.S. Naval Academy, West Point, and Norwich University. Despite the disadvantage of not being a military school, the Midshipmen of Rochester’s Battalion, which includes students from the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the College at Brockport, took third overall in drill events and first overall in athletic events.
Success like this does not happen overnight. For some, the training, especially for athletic events such as the 10K race, begins in the summer. For others, such as the newly inducted freshmen, the training in the discipline necessary for close-order drill begins at the start of the semester. From the flashy rifle-twirling performances of trick drill to the coordinated formations of platoon basic drill, each success in the competition represented many hours spent learning and perfecting the various movements and routines. The hard work especially paid off for the freshmen, who faced the tall order of continuing Rochester’s history of success in both Platoon Drill events. In the notoriously high-pressure Platoon Inspection, a nerve-wracking detailed inspection by professional Marine drill instructors, the team of freshmen, led by RIT junior Erik Smolinski, came away with an unquestioned first-place, even against older, more experienced teams from full-time military schools. They then performed a highly coordinated drill routine in the Platoon Basic Drill event, and while many of the students came to Rochester’s battalion with no prior drill experience, they earned a third-place finish.
Also competing in the drill portion of the competition were Rochester’s Color Guard and Trick Drill teams. Both represent a substantial increase in difficulty, requiring members to learn the more complex movements and routines. Rochester’s trick team, formed only a few years ago, showed marked improvement over years past, bringing more experienced members and better routines to the competition. The Color Guard teams proudly and professionally represented the battalion, but unfortunately due to confusion with the routine, neither team placed at this competition.
In the athletic events, Rochester either won or placed in every event. The 4×400 team, led by UR junior Ben Desch, finished first in their heat, but were beat by one other team who ran faster in the next heat, ultimately coming away with a second-place finish. In the pool, Rochester’s swimmers, captained by UR sophomore Trevor DeVisser, dominated the competition, taking first-place in all three relay events (4×100 Free, 4×100 IM, and Crescendo). UR sophomore David DeLong and UR junior Ed Boullianne also performed well, placing second and ninth respectively in the 10K race.
The longest and most grueling event was the Ironman competition. Unlike the famous triathlon, this was an event designed to test the all-around fitness of the teams, composed of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a 500-yard swim, and a 3-mile run. The competition was neck-and-neck, but when all the scores were tallied, Rochester came out on top for the first-place finish.
Rochester’s Midshipmen were proud to return home at the end of the competition, having performed well and continuing Rochester’s history of success at the Cornell University Invitational Drill Competition.
Article and photo courtesy of Andrew Myers and David Donaldson, NROTC members.