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La Salle Military Academy
LaSalle Rifles IDR La Salle Military Academy was a small, Catholic school with middle school/junior high school on campus and a high school division located in Oakdale, New York. Best known for it's rigorous and world-famous academic prowess, the armed military drill that was created by this Army JROTC program was the stuff of legend. With a relatively tiny student body population, their accomplishments were even more impressive!

It is safe to say that the excellence and complete domination put forth by the LaSalle Rifles in their prime throughout the 1980's may never occur again as they were so vastly better than any other armed program in the nation. Depth of talent has spread and those days are gone, but for a decade, the LaSalle Rifles were the standard all other teams sought to measure themselves against. Despite the fact that it has been over 20 years, legendary drillers like John Pisa-Relli, Guy Pennisi, Alex MacCalman, Charles Brown, Jacques Munro, Saj Mirza, Andy Garcia names seem to fly off the tongue to this day. This blinding spinners from the eastern most part of New York put their program on the map of drill excellence.

When the LaSalle Rifles enter the first-ever Nationals event held in Orlando, Florida in 1982, the event organizers Sports Network International knew they would be something special. Despite no internet or other social media back in the day, word had spread about the "Boys from New York". Dressed in their standard drill uniform that because ubiquitous with excellence. But nothing could have prepared everyone for the domination that was to follow in the early days of the Nationals.

LaSalle Rifles

Teams were whispering about them before they ever hit the drill floor as their reputation had preceded them. Then they performed, and those who were there remember simply stunned disbelief that a small private school from New York with NO ADULT INSTRUCTION OF THE DRILL TEAM OF ANY KIND could possibly be this good. How did these self-directed, self-motivated kids get to that level of quality? Sure, everyone knew they would do well in Inspection as they stood them daily, but the other events? They got there like many of the top schools today - the drilled and drilled and when they got tired, they drilled some more. Literally every waking hour when they were not buried under the crush of a grueling course load each was required to maintain - they drilled! They did it as a brotherhood and they had a swagger unlike any team for decades.

Their armed exhibition team had an amazingly difficult, high-flying, high-energy flair compared to all other teams back in that era that no other team could match (see a montage showing some of their exhibition routine here). To hear their Springfields crashing to the ground in a unison in predetermined segments - to see the tempo changes, the angled marching, the built-in routine pauses, the long tosses and precision doubles that were tossed almost effortlessly and impossibly clean. Teams that were competing against them were left just minutes into the LaSalle routines wondering if they were good enough to get SECOND PLACE.

LaSalle Rifles

While the team continued to compete through much of the 1990's, enrollment at the school declined to the point where fielding dominant teams was no longer possible. Watching them towards the end was like watching a prize fighter who stayed in the ring one fight too long. While still competitive up until the year before the school closed in 2001, the excellence that was the LaSalle Rifles was gone. But those who were privileged to witness the domination will forever remember. The DHOF is proud to immortalize the LaSalle Rifles here through their enshrinement in the national Drill Hall of Fame.

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