Record number of JROTC Cadets enter U.S. Army National Raider Challenge Championships
MOLENA, Ga. -- JROTC Cadets attend a briefing at the U.S. Army National Raider Challenge Championships, Nov. 1.

MOLENA, Ga. -- It was a cloudy, rainy start to the 2013 National Raider Challenge Championships but by the end of Friday, Nov. 1, more than 1,100 Cadets-- a record number -- had registered for the event.

The host school, Cedar Shoals High School from Athens Ga., spent most of the day setting up the course at the Gerald Lawhorn Scouting Base and laying out equipment. Retired 1st Sgt. Antione Clark said his team's responsibility was to set up the entire course before the event, ensure every venue is up to standard, conduct and safety review and provide support on the actual day of the competition.

"Our main concern will be the safety of all the participants," he said. "So we try to make sure the courses are well marked and all obstacles in the lanes or embedded in the trails were also well marked."

He added that all the equipment used for the competition belongs to Cedar Shoals JROTC, and they went over everything to make sure it was all in good working condition.

While Clark's set-up team finished the preparations, participants from all over the U.S. started to check in.

Francis Lewis High School from Fresh Meadows, N.Y., planned to defend its female division championship, while Osborne High School out of Marietta Ga., tried to recapture the male division title. Grissom High School from Huntsville, Ala., would shoot for a repeat of the mixed division title.

But the competition was stiff.

East Valley High School from Yakima, Wash., traveled across the United States for only the second time to show their competition that they have what it takes to take home a championship. But they would have to battle schools from places like El Paso, Texas, Jackson, Mich., and Grant County Ky.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Duffee, Grant County High School's senior JROTC instructor, said that although the trip to Molena is a long drive and is pricey, he is here for the Cadets.

Duffee said it's important to teach young people discipline, respect and dignity for themselves and for the people around them and appreciation for community service. They also need to learn that they shouldn't judge someone just because of where they are from, what their religion, or what they look like.

"They get to learn about teamwork, respect for themselves and their competition, they get to test themselves against the training we did," Duffee said. "I am here because if they do well, Grant County gets a big boost. They can say that these achievements are theirs too and the great things these kids do shine on the community."

Page last updated Mon November 4th, 2013 at 14:40