The Pony Express

Gaither’s JROTC is Heading to Nationals

Photo Courtesy of Zachary Landers

Photo Courtesy of Zachary Landers

Danielle Cotton, Staff Writer

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Gaither’s JROTC is competing in nationals against 25 other schools. The competition will be broken down into three events: Drill, Athletics and Academic. 

The Drill event consists of armed exhibition and armed basic, which are done with rifles. The unarmed exhibition and basic is done without rifles. They will be inspected by either midshipmen, cadets from college, Marine Corps Sergeants or Navy Chiefs. “We will be judged on execution of the drill movements, precision bearing, sharpness, and uniform composition,” said senior Zachary Landers, a 01-Ensign. 

The second event is Athletics, where members of JROTC participate in a 100-meter relay, 200-meter relay, push-ups and sit-ups. Those that compete in this event are judged based on form and cadence. “There’s a set of cadences, 50 repetitions a minute, that gets blasted from a speaker. Bad form or being out of cadence will get you stopped,” said senior Jonas Rowan, a Cadet Lieutenant. The last event is the Academic event, where the cadets have to answer a 100-question test in an hour. 

Anyone can compete in as many events as they want, but the strategy JROTC uses is to put the best people in each event. Each person works on a certain event that they wanted to compete in, either as an individual or as a team. “I compete in curl-ups on the athletics side and take the tests for the athletics,” said Rowan. 

They have worked hard this year to make it to nationals. JROTC has put in many hours over the past few months as they get ready. “The preparation we’ve done this year is so much more than we’ve ever done before and there’s a lot more motivation too,” said Landers. Many of the cadets feel this is the most prepared they have ever been. 

For many of the seniors it is a bittersweet moment for them. “It is very bittersweet because it’s something that I’ve grown accustomed to and the people in it have become a family to me, but at the same time I’m ready to move on to bigger things,” said Landers. For others it is a weird feeling, but they are glad to have been a part of JROTC. “It’s a really weird feeling. It’s much more stressful because I want to end on a high note, but at the same time it’s satisfying to think that it’s a culmination of everything I’ve done in ROTC up to this point,” said Rowan. 

JROTC will be competing April 6-7 at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

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Gaither’s JROTC is Heading to Nationals