ZION, Ill. (NNS) -- Zion-Benton Township High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) Air Rifle team hosted their annual ZB Stinger Air Rifle competition in their newly opened air rifle range, Dec. 13-15
Seven Chicago-area and Northern Illinois NJROTC air rifle teams participated in the competition, which has previously been held at an indoor range at a satellite school campus.
The Freeport (Illinois) High School Team 1 placed first scoring 2,090 points. East Aurora (Illinois) High School Team 1 came in second place with 1,905 points. The Team 1 from Wheeling (Illinois) High School scored 1,880 points for a third place finish. Most of the schools had more than one team competing in the event.
Freeport had the top three medalists. Senior Cadet Ensign Linsey Kleckner scored 554 points for first. Senior Cadet Austin Martinez tallied 539 points for second. And the third place medalist was freshman Cadet Seaman Apprentice Caydin Rabey shooting for 527 points.
“Overall I’m really proud of the team,” said retired U. S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Michael Dechy, NJROTC instructor and air rifle coach for Freeport. “They showed a lot of poise and worked real hard getting ready for this meet. We shoot pretty consistently where ever we go, but Zion’s range is top-notch and that was evident in how comfortable our team was with the scores they posted. It’s also evident how a top-of-the-line school (Zion) treats (and supports) a top-of-the-line NJROTC.”
Like national competitions, the ZB Stinger competition consisted of three rounds of shooting; prone, standing and kneeling. All the shooters used Sporter-class air rifles. These rifles are designed for junior competitors and are characterized by their light weight, low cost and outstanding accuracy for basic marksmanship training.
Senior Cadet Cmdr. Bailey Hoenig said she motivated herself for four years on the ZB rifle team by wanting to follow in the footsteps of her senior teammates and the accomplishments they have had.
“Now that we are seniors, setting an example is a big thing for us. I want to be that senior and leader that keeps people motivated to know that you can be successful,” Hoenig said.
“Just coming to practice even if you don’t feel motivated and even if you have a bad day shooting, we are always learning,” said Zion’s Regimental Commander and Senior Cadet Capt. Regina Raquino. “I feel like the reason I’ve done well is the amount of time we spend every day putting in the work and the practice to be better.”
In a mutual agreement between schools in the area that have indoor ranges, the host schools don’t receive trophies or medals. However, had they been able to place in the competition, Zion would have performed well with several medals. Zion’s top shooter, Hoenig scored 568 out 600 points. Raquino scored 546 points and junior Cadet Lt. Alexia Resendi shot 541.
The competition took place in a new facility provided by the Zion-Benton School District. The new $9 million facility also includes a new drill deck, offices, classrooms and a new weight room for the athletic department.
“This past year the school district built us this fabulous state-of-the-art indoor rifle range and drill deck,” said retired U. S. Navy Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Dan Hackstein, NJROTC instructor and air rifle coach for Zion-Benton. “I really appreciate all the support we get from our school board and the high school administration. Having them build this brand new facility for us means we have a much better opportunity to be very competitive nationally.”
All NJROTC Air Rifle teams are supported by Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) who provides training and instruction to the units. The CMP program is a national organization dedicated to training and educating U. S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and air guns through gun safety training, marksmanship training and competitions. 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.
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.
NJROTC is supported by Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), and his NSTC staff at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, and Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. NSTC supports 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy’s Citizenship Development program. This includes the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) units at more than 160 colleges and universities; Officer Training Command (OTC) on Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island; Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp, at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois; and NJROTC/Navy National Defense Cadet Corps units at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information on NJROTC visit: www.njrotc.navy.mil/
For more information about NSTC, visit http://www.netc.navy.mil/nstc/ or visit the NSTC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining/.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.