The Flagler Palm Coast female fitness team was mistakenly awarded the runner-up trophy at the All-Service National JROTC Fitness Challenge on April 15 in Daytona Beach.
When instructors Lt. Col. Melvin Baskerville and Master Sgt. Gardner Holland were informed a few days before the school's Air Force JROTC awards ceremony that the FPC team had actually won the championship, they decided to surprise their team.
They presented the trophy at the April 30 awards ceremony.
"It was a great surprise for me to find out," said team captain Jada Stanford.
"Nobody knew," senior Giva Clavizzao said. "This was my last competition, and I wanted us to get first place. At the awards ceremony, we found out we did win the championship."
FPC's male team finished third at the Fitness Challenge.
A tabulation error had the girls leaving the competition thinking they runners-up for the second year in a row. Last year, they lost the title by five points after they were penalized 15 seconds because of an obstacle course violation.
"Everyone motivated each other. Our teamwork played a big part in us winning."
That made the surprise even sweeter.
"We worked very hard for the entire year for that trophy," junior Ava Houstoun said.
There were 41 female teams in the competition. The five events included a 5K beach run and the obstacle course on the beach behind the Plaza Resort & Spa, and a power throw, flexed arm hang and standing broad jump at the Ocean Center. In the 5K race, the team had to finish together, all holding hands.
"Everyone motivated each other. Our teamwork played a big part in us winning," sophomore Kaylee Nevico said.
The other members of the team were Jerica Pitts, Genesis Epstein, Amelia Rowicka, Mia Nilsen, Madilyn Winternheimer, and Kaylee Briggs.
"This was the fourth year of the competition, and each year we made improvement," Baskerville said. "They've come a long way. I'm very proud of them."
The members of FPC's male team were Noah Soumokil, Zackary Soares, Gavin Stites, AJ Dayton, Theodore Winternheimer, Eduardo Rodriguez-Torres, Jakob Miller, Brendan Buckles, Moises Jorge, Noah Davis, Cody Fain and Joshua Fallon.
In the male division, the teams do pull-ups instead of flexed arm hangs, and in the 5K, they carry poles.