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Missouri Military Academy wins Rocky Mountain Drill Classic National Champions

Posted on Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 3:30 pm

MEXICO, MO—The Missouri Military Academy Armed Fusileer Drill Team recently traveled to Denver, Colo., to compete in the Rocky Mountain Drill Classic National Championship held on Saturday, April 15, where they won the national championship for overall armed drill.
“We are extremely proud of each member of the Fusileer Drill Team. They are extremely dedicated to achieving excellence, support each other as loyal teammates, and are led by our outstanding coach, Rick Dehlinger,” said MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret). “The significant amount of time they spend at drill team practice while still performing at high levels in the classroom, on other athletic teams, in the band, and as cadet leaders in the corps is absolutely remarkable. They represent everything we expect from cadets when they enroll at Missouri Military Academy.”
The 2023 Armed Fusileer Drill Team members are as follows: Gage Blanton from Newburg, Missouri; Gorka-Aitor Yarte-Zertuche from Lisbon, Portugal; Gabriel Iglesias from Antigua Cuscatlan from El Salvador; Bradley Thumbi from Overland Park, Kansas; Zijie Zhou from Shenzhen, China; Angelo Urdaneta from Boca Raton, Florida; Duane Thompson from Troy, Missouri; Augustin Anaya Cisneros from Monterrey, N.L., México; Lucas Sydlewski from Houlton, Missouri; Gerardo Quiroga from México City, México; Malachi Imrie from Wildwood, Missouri; and River Punjab-Mitchell from Hollister, Missouri.
The Fusileers competed against 28 other schools including rivals Ozark High School and Waynesville High School as well as other midwestern schools.
“The Fusileers were in town to put on a drill clinic and that is exactly what they did,” said Richard Dehlinger, MMA deputy commandant of activities and support and drill team coach. “The energy that the Fusileers brought for the 12 hours of competition was intense.”
In the individual drilldown competition, Cadet Yarte-Zertuche finished in fifth place among 500 cadets. The MMA Fusileers stood out with the following awards: 3rd place Unit Inspection, 2nd place Commanders Cup, 2nd place Armed Regulation, 1st place Armed Color Guard,1st place Armed Exhibition, and the national championship in the Overall Armed Drill category.
While in Colorado, the team visited the United States Air Force Academy, where cadets were treated to an aerial demonstration by an F-22 Raptor. The drill team also toured the iconic campus and athletic facilities before returning to Denver to prepare for the upcoming competition.
Next up, the Fusileers will compete in the 2023 US Army JROTC National Drill Team Championships and the 2023 All Services National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla., May 5-7, 2023.
The Missouri Military Academy Fusileer drill team is a staple of MMA’s excellence in military leadership, structure, discipline and class. Cadets compete in different classifications in each of the following divisions: Armed Regulation Drill, Unarmed Regulation Drill, Armed Color Guard, Unarmed Color Guard, Armed Exhibition and Unarmed Exhibition.
Missouri Military Academy is an all-male, college preparatory military boarding school (middle school and high school) with a diverse domestic and international student population. The Academy’s rigorous program empowers young men to reach their potential as future college graduates, citizens of character, and leaders in their communities. MMA’s 360˚ Education fosters academic excellence, a healthy lifestyle and physical development, leadership and life skills, positive character development, and personal motivation. For more information, visit