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FARMINGTON – The Piedra Vista High School JROTC team won first place at the state championship last weekend in Albuquerque.

The Shiprock, Kirtland Central, Farmington and Bloomfield high school JROTC teams also competed at the New Mexico State Military Skills Meet last week at Cibola High School.

David Naber, Piedra Vista JRTOC senior instructor, said he was happy with the team’s performance, which bettered its finish at last year’s competition. The team tied for second place with Grants High School at the 2015 competition.

Shiprock finish fourth, and Kirtland Central took fifth place in the 5A championship results. Bloomfield and Farmington High competed but did not place in the championship round.

PV senior Belle Toney said she didn’t believe the Panthers would win the first-place trophy.

“We had people crying their eyes out afterward,” Toney said.

Toney won the female flex competition and was second in the female overall points total.

The Panther drill team finished first in the armed regulation and exhibition competitions. It was second in the unarmed exhibition competition and third in female color guard.

Leonard Maldonaldo, Shiprock High's JROTC co-instructor, said the many hours of practice his students put in paid off with their fourth-place finish.

The Chieftains' male color guard finished in first place while the drill team took second place in the armed regulation competition, along with a third-place finish in armed exhibition.

In the male run competition, Shiprock’s Adrian Gibson finished second, and Kirtland Central’s Tristan George took third place. George also took first place in male overall points total, aided by third-place finishes in the situp and run competitions.

Kirtland Central’s Aaliyah Henry finished first in female overall points, followed by Toney in second and Bloomfield’s Krystal Hosteen in third. All three girls also finished first in the individual physical training competitions.

Henry won the situp competition with Toney winning the flex and Hosteen finishing first in the run competition.

Bloomfield JROTC instructor Jeffery A. Rabuck and Kirtland Central senior instructor Pedro Larribas said they were pleased with how their teams performed.

Larribas cited Henry's performance, stating she is a great team captain and outstanding representative of the JROTC program.

The Piedra Vista JROTC students will face a new level of competition next school year after the New Mexico Activities Association approved district and class realignments that bumped the school up to 6A. Naber said the Panthers will face high schools with larger enrollments and larger JROTC programs in the 2016-2017 school year, but they hope to remain competitive.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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