On Saturday (Nov. 2), the Smith-Cotton JROTC Raider Team competed in Molena, Georgia for the National Championship title. The Raider Team has had a good season this year with many adversities and accomplishments.  The Raider Team has worked all season for the moment when they could rise above their competitors and once again earn the title of Raider National Champions.

At 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, the mixed and male teams began with their first event: the Gauntlet, which consisted of a ten-man team carrying five weighted backpacks, running up the mountains of Molena, Ga. The mixed team received first place overall in this event with a time of 20 minutes and 33 seconds.

The next event was the Physical Team Test, which consisted of a 35 pound water jug carry, a low crawl, an agility maze and a team canoe lift loaded with 250 pounds. The mixed team received ninth place overall in this event.  The 5-kilometer run followed the Physical Team Test. The mixed team received first place overall in this event with a time of 25 minutes and 45 seconds.

The mixed team then moved on to the Cross Country Rescue, which consisted of 10 team members carrying 6 weighted backpacks and a 95-pound litter carry through an obstacle course consisting of an 8-foot wall, a low crawl through a muddy water pit, a 36-inch low crawl through a 36-inch pipe and a 42-inch vault jump. One mixed team member, Cadet Jessica Miranda, fought her way through the Cross Country Rescue receiving injures to her elbow and hip. Her injuries were among some of the more serious injuries that cadets received throughout the competition, but she pushed through the pain for the good of the team.

The final event the mixed team went through was the One-Rope Bridge. They received second place in this event with a time of 2 minutes and 47 seconds.  This year’s male team, was commanded by Cadet Bradley Burton.  The male team placed 14th place out of 40 male teams across the nation.

Cadet Austin Rieckhoff, a senior, said, “It was tough competition with the other male teams, but the whole team worked together very well and it was the strongest male team I’ve been on in the three years I’ve been on the Raider team. I’ll always remember everything I got to teach the younger cadets and I hope I got the chance to pass on some of the values I’ve learned from being on the Raider team and in JROTC.”

Other graduating cadets include Cadet Alexandria Stewart, who is the mixed team commander, Cadet Caleb Hankins, and Cadet Alan Sharp.

The Raiders are thankful for the support they have received from parents, the school, and the entire community. Special thanks to Mr. Ron Ditzfeld and Ditzfeld and Weaver Charter Service for superb transportation services of the team to Georgia.

This press release provided by Cadets Bradley Burton, Jessica Miranda, Cristina Tejeda and Alexandria Stewart of the Smith-Cotton JROTC.