CHANDLER, Ariz. (NNS) -- Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets from across the United States participated in the Navy Air Rifle Championship, Feb. 6-8.
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.
“Congrats to all the cadets that qualified to be here and especially the ones that came out on top,” said retired Navy Capt. Tim Daseler, NJROTC program director. “Everyone here is a winner and many thanks to CMP for their tremendous support and great competition. I also thank all the instructors, school districts and most importantly the parents.”
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, Zion-Benton High School, Zion, Illinois was named the champion. They were followed by Patuxent High School, Lusby, Maryland in second and Santa Fe High School, New Mexico, finishing third after being the champions in 2018 and 2019.
Zion-Benton High School not only won as a team but had the first through third place individual finishers.
“I didn’t believe it was going to happen until it did,” said Cadet Halie Creekmore, a junior from Zion-Benton and individual Sporter champion. “The team is extremely excited as we definitely didn’t expect to win like we did with the top three spots.”
The runner-up in the Sporter division was Alexia Resendiz and finishing third was Jeremiah Vonzell.
In the Precision division, Joshua, Texas, High School was named champion for the second year in a row. They were followed by Oak Harbor High School, Washington and Camden County High School, Kingsland, Georgia, which finished third.
“I’m so proud of my team as they worked so hard for this common goal,” said Cadet Grace Sharp, a senior and team captain from Joshua. “We are ecstatic and can’t wait till next month to compete at the all-service event.”
The top shooter in the Precision division was Ionee Mendoza from Parlier High School, California. She was followed by Parker Haydin and Carlos Martinez, both from Joshua High School.
“I am very excited and give credit to my instructors,” said Mendoza. “The late Chief Warrant Officer Bristol taught me how to shoot and Chief Killian has been with me along the way this year. I am really looking forward to taking the next step at all-service next month.”
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 19-21.
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.
NJROTC is a citizenship development overseen by Rear Adm. Jaime Sands, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes that instills in high school students the value of citizenship and service to the United States at high schools across 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; Naval ROTC 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 news from Naval Service Training Command, visit: www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.