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The Masters Level Competition
at the
National High School
Drill Team Championships

The National High School Drill Team Championships Masters Level competition is a continuation of the fantastic drill competition "The Nationals" has always been. The finest 50+ schools in the Nation are accepted into this prestigious two-day military Junior ROTC extravaganza. Schools from everywhere annually clamor to be a part of this fantastic drill experience.

When is the Masters Level being held?
The Masters Level competition is a two-day drill competition being held on the Saturday and Sunday of the Nationals competition at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center Arena. The competition begins on Saturday morning and continues until late into the evening on Saturday. The event continues on Sunday (the final competition day) morning and should end at approximately 1700 with the Armed & Unarmed Knockout Drills. The Masters Level Awards Ceremony begins at 2030.

Competing schools will arrive the day prior to the start of their competition to register for the event and attend the Commander's Call meeting. Many schools are electing to extend their hotel stay, thereby taking the opportunity to hit one of the many education attractions throughout the Central Florida area, featuring Kennedy Space Center.

What is the Masters Level all about?
The Masters Level, unlike the Challenge Level, is exclusively for the finest Armed & Unarmed drill teams in the country the ability to compete against each other in an all-service format. It also maintains a seperate Alternative Arms division (unlike the Challenge Level) that allows those schools competing with lightweight "facsimile" weapons as well as some mixed gender teams using any weapons to compete against each other in their own competition. The Nationals are designed to provide all of these deserving schools the international exposure and recognition these teams so richly deserve.

What Events will the Masters Level Feature?
The Demilitarized Arms Division (for schools who utilize regulation-style demilitarized weapons), Unarmed Division (for schools who utilize no weapons [except during color guard competition]), and the Mixed Arms Division (for schools who utilize lightweight "facsimile-style" weapons OR who have males and females on the team in high numbers). All of the above competition divisions maintain the following events:

  1. Unit Inspection
  2. Squad/Element Regulation
  3. Color Guard
  4. Squad/Element Exhibition
  5. Platoon/Flight Exhibition

Drill units may enter all five events, or just some of the events. Priority entry will be given to those teams competing in all events and going for the Overall Division National Championship.

All armed teams also may enter the Solo Exhibition and Dual Exhibition competition. This will allow single and dual exhibition cadets to compete for 1st-3rd place trophies. Armed teams are limited to two entries in each of the above competitions. Unarmed teams may enter two unarmed dual teams as well. These scores do not count towards a team's overall team scoring totals within either Masters Level Division.

Who will be Accepted into the Masters Level?
Those demilitarized arms and unarmed competition units whose strength on the drill floor warrant placement into the Masters Level of the Nationals will be accepted into the Masters Level. Geographic and service diversity is also considered carefully when applications come in, to ensure the event remains a true all-service, national championship competition. Note: All teams competing with facsimile weapons will compete in the Masters Level Alternative Arms Division as well as most all teams with high female numbers on their armed team - priority is given to best teams first!

Schools who have not attended the Nationals in recent history will be evaluated on their overall finishes at recent regional and local drill competitions, as well as instructor/peer evaluations. The ultimate authority regarding who will be accepted into which competition division will be Sports Network International, Event Manager for the National High School Drill Team Championships.

What are the Differences between the Masters Level & Challenge Level?
This can be boiled down to two themes - competition strength and costs. Masters level schools are, by definition, teams wishing to compete in the best competition field to better compete with other programs that more closely resemble their own skill level. The cost to enter the Masters Level is slightly higher because the event is a two day drill event and contains a few more extras including a more elaborate awards ceremony. Also, the School Registration Fee to attend the Masters Level event is $300 vs. $200 for the single-day Challenge Level. Lastly, no solo or dual competitions are held during the Challenge Level competition. All other Team Package items (shirts, medallions, patches, photos, etc.) outlined within the NHSDTC Invitation are included as a part of the Masters Level Package. Both levels use the same competition site, judges, event SOP's, drills and total professionalism that have become a trademark at the Nationals.

I'm Not Sure Which Level I Should Enter at the Nationals?
Schools MUST choose on the Nationals' Registration Form which competition level they would prefer to enter. A good rule of thumb is that if your team places in the top three at most larger local or small regional drill competitions, then you should be competing within the Masters Level competition. If not, the Challenge Level may be for you. The ultimate placement decision is made by Sports Network International but your choice is given first consideration.

Any school not accepted into the competition division they have chosen will be given the opportunity to either:
  1. Enter the competition level they have been moved into or;
  2. Obtain a full refund of their Registration Fee and withdraw from the Nationals competition entirely.

If a school wishes to change their choice after registration, this may be allowed depending on how soon the change is requested and whether the team can be accepted into the other competition level.

When Should my School Register to Attend?
To keep schools from racing to the post office immediately after receiving their DrillNATION Magazine, an early December entry deadline gives all schools who have their application package in the hands of SNI NO LATER THAN THE DEADLINE have an equal shot of gaining an entry space. However, those schools that wait until the last few days prior to the deadline to mail their entry package really risk their acceptance. Weather influences, lost mail, etc. can make your trip a non-starter if your package is not received by the deadline. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. Regardless of when you enter, give yourself a couple of extra days to ensure your package is in the SNI office by the deadline.

To Register for the NHSDTC
To register your school into the Nationals, please complete the NHSDTC Registration Form enclosed within the DrillNATION Magazine(or posted here on-line) which is mailed to your school in mid-September and mail it to Sports Network International along with your Registration Fee. Schools unsure of which competition level they should enter should contact SNI before submitting their School Registration. Upon receipt by SNI, your school will be immediately notified by mail that we have received your entry request.

All Nationals registrations will be accumulated and mass reviewed by the competition committee of SNI beginning on the first Friday of December. SNI will evaluate all entries on their merits and decide which schools can be accepted. This judgement will be based on many factors, but the largest of these include:

While most powerful returning schools to the Nationals register within weeks of receiving this invitation, a few schools wait. If you are sure you wish to attend, this could be a recipe for disaster! Schools who register after the early December review deadline will have only a small chance of getting into the Nationals as the event is annually over-filled with many teams unfortunately unable to be accepted due to space limitations.

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