RADCLIFF, Kentucky (March 11, 2017) -- More than 1,200 Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Cadets from more than 50 High Schools converged on Radcliff for one of the largest JROTC competitions in the country during the Sgt. Maj. Paul C. Gray JROTC Memorial Invitational Drill, Marksmanship and Academic Championships March 11-12.

Cadets from Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee took part in the only competition of this size that offers three separate judged skills (drill, marksmanship and academics) at one location.
Lee Redmon, JROTC Training and Education Technician, said the cadets and coaches benefit in several ways from competitions like this one.

"Events like this reinforce teamwork and leadership qualities -- and here they get to practice what they are taught in the classrooms like how to manage their teams and deal with adversity and change," he said. "It's a super experience for the students, to go through all of the practice and training to get ready to come here, then actually go through the pressure of the competition. It allows them to see how much all of the hard work pays off in the end."

This event precedes the All-Army JROTC Drill and Ceremony championships being held in Louisville, Kentucky April 1 by several weeks -- allowing for last minutes adjustments to routines before going up against Cadets from across the country.

"A lot of the schools that will be competing at the All-Army level in Louisville next month are at this competition," said Redmon. "It's provides them a "dress rehearsal" because they are doing the same sequences here that they will be doing there. It gives the teams a warm up and the coaches can look at what they need to work on."

Whitnie Clark, Renaissance High School, Detroit, Michigan, said taking part in events like this one allow her to grow as a person and a leader.

"I like the ability to be a leader and increase all of my skills. I also like getting to meet new people and learn new things - it's a great opportunity to see where you stack up against your peers, and at the same time maybe learn some things you didn't already know," she said.

Herbert Veldenz, John Hardin High School, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, said he thinks the experience will enhance his ability to work with others in the future.

"I like the friendships you make in JROTC and the leadership skills you gain, plus the overall confidence it gives you," he said. "The competitions are fun -- you work a lot on confidence and performing in front of people and judges. It puts you under a little pressure but learning to deal with that will help me in a lot of other aspects of my life."

Winners by category are:

Drill Team Categories

Color Guard (Armed): West Creek High School, Clarksville, Tennessee
Infantry Drill Regulation Platoon Inspection (Armed): Madison Central High School, Richmond, Kentucky
Infantry Drill Regulation Platoon Drill (Armed): Springfield High School, Holland, OH
Exhibition Team (Armed): Springfield High School, Holland, OH
Color Guard (Unarmed): Cordova High School, Memphis, Tennessee
Infantry Drill Regulation Platoon Inspection (Unarmed): Louisville Male High School, Louisville, Kentucky
Infantry Drill Regulation Platoon Drill (Unarmed): Louisville Male High School, Louisville, Kentucky
Exhibition Team (Unarmed): Kenwood High School, Clarksville, Tennessee

Marksmanship

New Sporter Category: West Creek High School, Clarksville, Tennessee
Old Sporter Category: West Creek High School, Clarksville, Tennessee
Precision Category: Montgomery Central High School, Cunningham, Tennessee

Academics: Red Bank High School, Red Bank, Tennessee