Nationally ranked Springfield High School drill team preps for All-Service Nationals

HOLLAND, Ohio (WTVG) - Commands and complicated sequences are drilled in to the heads of Springfield High School students part of JROTC. The drill team is nationally ranked and now is gearing up for another big competition.

Sophomore Caroline Salatin is one of the few girls on the Emerald Guard Drill Team. She's wanted to be part of the team since middle school.

"I saw a select few females on the team and I wanted to do what the big guys did," said Salatin.

Teammates like senior Daniel Kasson feel they've learned a lot more than just marches and commands.

"Especially after joining the drill team, my grades have improved and I've also gotten better people skills, better leadership skills overall," said Kasson.

Precision, discipline and commitment are what head coach and first sergeant Ricky Thomas expects from the 23 students that make up his team.

"Those 23 are the hard knocks," said Thomas.

He says this year is the best season ever.

"We've won more trophies this year than we ever have in my tenure. This is the 16th year of mine and I push them very hard," said Thomas.

Last month, they placed second at the All-Army Nationals.

"Can not break the curse. As you can see, three years in a row: second place. We got to take number one," said Thomas.

Now, they're training hard for the All-Service Nationals in Florida coming up in May. They've been practicing every morning hours before school and lately even on the weekend.

"You have to want to be here because if you don't want to be here - you're not going to be here," said Salatin.

The team is fired up and feeling confident.

"Every year we've finished in the top 10 percent, but this year we're going to finish number one," said Thomas.

"We're more than ready. This is the best I've ever seen the team and I feel like we have a chance of getting first in the world," said Kasson.