On the morning of Saturday, Nov. 3, a total of 71 teams from across the United States, including one team from American Samoa, gathered in Molena, Georgia for one of the most difficult competitive events they would ever face.
The Smith-Cotton Raiders’ day started off with the one-rope bridge over a river at a distance of 85 feet; a physical team test (over a quarter mile course involving a low crawl, a three 30-pound water can carry, a negotiated obstacle, and a running maze), followed by a 5-kilometer team run and the Gauntlet. The Gauntlet consisted of a 2-mile run with five 35 lb. backpacks through the mountains of Georgia.
The last event was the cross-country rescue that consisted of mile run through a course that included a first-aid event, a low crawl, and an 8-foot wall while carrying six 35-pound backpacks and a 95-pound litter with a simulated casualty. The mixed team placed 1st in the physical team test, 1st in the 5-kilometer team run, 1st in the Gauntlet, and 2nd in the cross-country rescue.
They had a disappointing performance on the one-rope bridge, resulting in a 19th place finish in that event. “We feel very proud of the mixed team for making an amazing comeback after the one-rope bridge event. It shows they truly have a lot of heart,” said team commanders America Lerma and Eric Melgar. The mixed team’s combined efforts resulted in the team receiving the national champion runner-up trophy at the awards ceremony on Sunday morning.
The male team had a very consistent day with their best performance occurring on the one-rope bridge event. They took 12th place overall, which was a better finish than last year. Cadet Alex Sanchez, commander of the male team, said, “The male team gave it their all,” and that he was very proud of their hard work.
Both teams are committed to improve their performances and bring back national championship trophies next year. The Smith-Cotton JROTC Raider teams would like to thank the community for all their support. Hooah!!
By Cadets Cristina Tejeda and Chancey Johnson
Shown front row (left to right): Cadets Alex Sanchez and America Lerma.
Second row (left to right): Cadets Jessica Miranda, Kari Balch, Cristina Tejeda, Jaime Sandoval, Chris Melgar, Caitlyn Wiskur, Rosbel Garza, Devin Berry and Luis Costilla.
Third row (left to right): Cadets Victor Tinoco-Nieto, Steven Bradbury, Lilibeth Lozada, Blaine Sarabia, Gage Mabry, Eric Melgar, Shelbi Davis, Stephen Weeks and Christopher Hawthorne.
Back row (left to right): Cadets Ever Loera, Jeremiah Luera, Chancey Johnson, Bradley Burton, Noah Rosendale, Isaac Traffanstedt, Christian Sarabia, Payton Sattler, Austin Rieckhoff and Caleb Hankins. –Submitted.