After three days of cool temperatures, wet clothes and physical exhaustion, the 2021 JROTC Raider competition wrapped up at the Gerald Lawhorn Scouting Base in Molena, Georgia, Nov. 7. More than 3,500 JROTC Cadets from 74 schools in `21 states competed in various competitions Nov. 5-7 to see who would be named the best of the best.
The Raider weekend was comprised three different competitions designed to test the strength, teamwork and physical and mental endurance of cadets from across the country. The All-Service Raider competition took place Friday, Nov. 5, with the All-Army Raider competition Saturday, Nov. 6, and the “Ultimate” Raider competition taking place Sunday, Nov. 7. Each competition varied by measuring Cadets performance in selections from the events: 5K run, one-rope bridge crossing, the Gauntlet, the Physical Team Test, and the Cross Country Rescue.
Col. Steve Smith, Army JROTC director, said Raider is designed to challenge Cadets while allowing them to see what they are capable of.
“It’s about building confidence, teamwork, showing the cadets positive role models and demonstrating physical abilities – it’s about all of the hard work they have put in to get to this event,” he explained. “That’s how you build confidence, you’re given a challenge, you build up to that challenge then you execute – these Cadets are learning that hard work pays off.”
Smith said he was impressed by the performance and motivation of the Cadets who competed in the Raider competition.
“I’ve seen a lot of hard, physical competition, but I’ve also seen a lot of good teamwork,” he shared. “We have had good winners and good losers. It’s easy to be a good sport when you’re winning and it’s tougher to be a good sport when you’re losing, but I’ve seen these Cadets show great sportsmanship no matter which one they have been.”
While physically and mentally tough, Smith said the event also reinforces other JROTC values.
“Physical education is big in the JROTC program and this event highlights their athletic abilities. But this event also encompasses everything we try to instill in the cadets through JROTC,” Smith said. “Another goal of JROTC is to educate Cadets on how to be a good citizen – someone that contributes to the team’s purpose. Here, they are all learning that they are part of a team and a team is only as strong as the individual so each individual has to bring their very best to the event.”
Cadet Olivia Sabin, from Sarasota Military Academy, has been on her school’s Raider team for four years. She said while Raider is fun, it’s also very tough yet rewarding.
“While I’m competing, I hate every second of it, but after I finish it’s a great feeling of accomplishment,” she said. “Going through this with my team makes us like and family - I love them so much.”
Cadet Aiden Houchens, Buckingham County High School, has been on his school’s Raider team for three years. He agreed with Sabin in the challenges and rewards the Raider competition brings.
“It’s hard – I’m not going to lie. It’s just also really fun and challenging at the same time,” he said. “Working together on something so challenging like this makes us like a big family and we all just look out for one another.”
Overall winners for team competitions were:
All-Army Male Division: 1st Place- Riverside Military Academy, Gainesville, Georgia; 2nd Place – Leavenworth High School, Leavenworth, Kansas; 3rd Place – Benedictine Military School Savannah, Georgia.
All-Army Female Division: 1st Place – Leavenworth High School, Leavenworth, Kansas; 2nd Place – Adairsville High School, Adairsville, Georgia; 3rd Place – Osborne High School, Marietta, Georgia.
All-Army Mixed Division: 1st Place – Ozark High School, Ozark, Missouri; 2nd Place – North Fort Myers High School, Fort Myers, Florida; 3rd Place – Sarasota Military Academy, Sarasota, Florida.
All-Service Male Division: 1st Place - George Roger Clark High School, Winchester, Kentucky; Runner-up – Perry High School, Perry, Georgia.
All-Service Female Division: 1st Place- Live Oaks High School, Milford, Ohio; Runner-up – Ozark High School, Ozark, Missouri.
All-Service Mixed Division: 1st Place – Junction City High School, Junction City, Kansas; Runner-up – Blue Spring South High School, Blue Springs, Missouri.
Individual event and individual competitor results can be found by following this link: https://thenationals.net/raider-main-ARMY.htm .
U.S. Army Cadet Command develops better citizens through our congressionally mandated Junior ROTC program, which consists of over 304,000 JROTC Cadets across the U.S., four territories, and in four countries. These young men and women routinely exhibit higher attendance, grade point average and graduation rates than their schoolmates. Collectively, they perform more than four million hours of community service annually.