In Jan. 31 IssueBy Derek AaronRussell County News Editor
Russell County High School’s NJROTC Rifle Teams recently participated in the Area 9 SY 08/09 Championships, competing against 57 other high schools from Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico with the varsity team bringing home second place overall.
The varsity team consists of Cadet Lieutenant Lauren Brown, Cadet Ensign Philip Anderson, Cadet Ensign Marcus Lindsey and Cadet Seaman Apprentice Jose Rodriguez, according to Naval Science Instructor Senior Chief Steven Kinder.
The varsity Lakers scored 865 out 1200 total points. In the Novice Sporter Division the team of Cadet Ensign Joseph Meza, Cadet Seaman Apprentice Dustin Poff, Cadet Seaman Apprentice Josh Smith and Cadet Seaman Apprentice Kevin Wiggins earned third place with a total of 719 out of 1200 possible points.
Individual awards went to Jose Rodriguez and Joseph Meza. Rodriguez won the silver medal for his overall score, gold medal in the prone position and the silver medal in the kneeling position. Meza received the bronze medal in the kneeling position.
This win qualified the varsity team to participate in the Navy Nationals Air Rifle Championship which is to be held at Camp Perry, Ohio on Feb. 26-28. The team practices four days a week during the season and their efforts have paid huge dividends.
Kinder said he was hoping the number of students interested in the NJROTC’s rifle team will rise after the recent success.
“I think they will,” Kinder said. “We’ve already came up from the first semester.”
Kinder said there were 87 total high school students involved in the ROTC this year. He said he’d like to see the number up around 60 students per semester. Cpt. Bob King is the senior NJROTC senior naval science instructor.
Kinder said he wanted to change the perception that many students may have of the NJROTC. He said many view it as too difficult with all the training and discipline. Kinder said a person can have fun with discipline that the NJROTC instills.
“I know we’re going to continue to grow,” he said.
The rifle team shoots 30 rounds on a 33 ft. course, with 10 being prone, 10 shots kneeling and 10 shots standing. The rifles used by the team are Daisy 753 pumps with open sights.
Cadets Brown, Anderson and Meza all said they were glad they chose to participate in the air rifle tournaments as they liked the competition among one another as well as the lifelong friends and memories they have made.
Anderson said when on the rifle course, it is sometimes easy to get caught up in all the hoopla and let nerves get the best of you.
“When you think about it though, it is just like a practice and you are there to have fun,” he said.
Sometimes, they agreed, the most competition is between team members themselves. The three cadets said some sacrifices have to be made to be a part of the team, but that is is all worth it in the end.
The three cadets offered their thanks to Kinder for the stability he has brought to Russell County’s NJROTC rifle team.
“He is a really good friend of mine,” Anderson said. Meza said he just began shooting this year and was surprised at how Kinder’s teachings had made him a threat on the shooting course.
Brown said she, as well as others, are thinking of going into the military after graduating high school, something Kinder and King would surely be proud of.