CHANDLER, Ariz. (NNS) -- Navy JROTC cadets from across the United States participated in the Navy Air Rifle Championship, Feb. 8-10.
The annual three-day event hosted by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) brought more than 200 cadets who qualified from a field of more than 7,000 cadets, together in order to establish who has the right to be called Navy national champions.
The event concluded with an awards ceremony to honor the competitors and present awards to the winners from each division.
The competition consisted of two days of firing by cadets, in which two divisions of competitors, Sporter and Precision, vied for gold, silver and bronze medals. Sporter-class air rifles are designed for junior competitors and are characterized by their light weight, low cost and outstanding accuracy for basic marksmanship training. Precision-class air rifles are higher in cost and require additional specialized clothing to be worn by the competitor.
Winning teams and competitors were determined based on their two-day aggregate scores.
In the Sporter division, Santa Fe, New Mexico High School was named the champion and also had a team finish third in the competition.
They were followed by Freeport, Illinois High School who was the runner-up for the second consecutive year.
"It's all about the kids as they put in all the practice and worked hard," said retired Navy Master Chief Dale Mayes, Naval Science Instructor from Santa Fe High School. "We started this journey three and a half years ago and finished towards the bottom of a meet. I told some of these same kids here today that we would make it here."
The top shooter in the Sporter division for the second consecutive year was Emma Thompson from Freeport High School. She was followed by Jessica Montcrieff from Oviedo, Florida High School who was also last year's runner-up.
On being named the Navy champion again, Thompson, a senior cadet from Freeport High School said, "It was a lot of fun this year being my senior year and although there was some pressure defending my title, it was nice to shoot in Phoenix and have some fun."
In the Precision division, New Albany, Indiana High School was named champion for the first time since their 2013 championship. Last year's champion John Marshall High School in San Antonio, Texas finished runner-up.
"This was a total team effort and an amazing feat," said retired Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Leonard Akermon, Naval Science Instructor from New Albany High School. "This entire season we had one match on our minds and it was the Navy Nationals. They really wanted it this year."
The top shooter in the Precision division was Athena Baty from Robert Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska. She was followed by Holly Day from New Albany High School.
"My experience was phenomenal," said Baty. "I had so much fun getting to shoot with other people from all over the U.S. and experiencing a national competition for the first time. I'm happy that I put in the work that I did in order to qualify and in the end be the top shooter in the Navy JROTC."
The top seven sporter teams, top eight sporter individuals, top five precision teams and top six precision individuals will represent NJROTC in the All-service JROTC Championship in Camp Perry, Ohio March 22-24.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a national organization dedicated to training and educating U. S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and airguns through gun safety training, marksmanship training and competitions. The CMP is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) corporation that places its highest priority on serving youth through gun safety and marksmanship activities that encourage personal growth and build life skills
The NJROTC program is overseen by Rear Adm. Michael Bernacchi, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes.
NJROTC is a citizenship development program that instills in high school students, in U.S. secondary educational institutions, the value of citizenship and service to the United States.
NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC includes Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp; NROTC at more than 160 colleges and universities across the country; Officer Training Command (OTC) in Newport, R.I.; NJROTC and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information on NJROTC visit: www.njrotc.navy.mil/
For more information about NSTC, visit: www.netc.navy.mil/nstc/ or visit the NSTC Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/navalservicetraining/.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.