Call them Varsity Rifles Troop L-1.The University of Toledo Army ROTC Pershing Rifles Troop took home the top honor at the national John J. Pershing Memorial Drill Competition and as the 2013 Varsity Cup Winner, the troop now will be known for the year as Varsity Rifles.
“It’s definitely something we wanted to do going into it and we accomplished that goal. I’m very proud,” said Pershing Rifles Capt. David Hritz, a UT junior from Geneva, Ohio, studying computer science engineering. “It is great to get the varsity rifles title for the year. It’s a bit like how you are the Super Bowl Champions until the next one. We’ll enjoy it until we return next year to defend our title.”
Two dozen students participated in the competition March 16 that was part of the 2013 Pershing Rifles National Convention and Alumni Reunion in Jacksonville, Fla.
The UT troop earned first-place finishes in the platoon and squad exhibition drills, which are the choreographed routines that showcase techniques and maneuvers. The students had planned a more challenging routine for the 2013 competition to better their chances of winning after finishing second overall last year.
UT also earned second place in duet exhibition drill, and platoon and squad regulation drills, where cadets perform a series of specific commands. The UT Color Guard placed third, and UT received a third-place finish in the individual exhibition drill.
The National Society of Pershing Rifles promotes precision rifle drill as a means to develop leadership traits in students at nearly 200 college campuses across the country.
There were more than 20 Pershing Rifle units that participated in the national competition, with UT, Clemson University and Eastern Kentucky University earning most of the top places.