The north Mecklenburg region will be well represented in upcoming national competitions among high school students involved in Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs.

Based on recent achievements and regional competition success, JROTC cadets from Hough and Hopewell high schools have qualified for advancement in programs that provide an opportunity for students to showcase their intelligence, athletic ability, teamwork and adaptability.

Hough headed to D.C.

As a result of their performance through two rounds of online evaluations and competition, members of the Hough Army JROTC Leadership Team have earned a spot in the 2019 U.S. Army JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl (JLAB) June 21-25. The national competition will be held at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Cadets on Hough’s Leadership Team are Samantha Eisen, Sebastian Hart, Mackenzie Steger and Joselyn Cordova. They will join other qualifying squads from across the country, as well as some international units, in the annual JLAB event, which is sponsored by the U.S. Army Cadet Command, JROTC Headquarters and is conducted by the College Options Foundation.

Through the multi-round, online portion of the competition, the Hough squad earned top scores out of the 1,350 Army JROTC teams from around the world participating in the program. Hough’s team is one of only 40 Army JROTC Leadership Bowl teams to advance to the final competition. Qualification for the annual championship gathering includes an all-expense paid trip to the event in the nation’s capital.

The preliminary events used to identify qualifiers included two fast-paced rounds of questions and scenarios designed to test cadet knowledge of current events and academic subjects along with leadership values and skills.

The JLAB event is a nationally recognized competition created exclusively for JROTC students. By taking part in the program, cadets learn the values of citizenship and participation in academic competition while being introduced to a range of college opportunities provided through a forum that gives them a chance to demonstrate  leadership and academic abilities.

The event’s facilitator, the College Options Foundation, is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the academic development of high school students and assisting them in preparing for higher education. Using academic competitions, college exam study guides, college admissions tutorials and personalized counseling, the foundation  has assisted the nation’s JROTC cadets worldwide for more than a decade.

The program at Hough, on Bailey Road in Cornelius, is under the direction of Army First Sgt. (Ret.) Daryl Hayes.

Titans earn Raider invite

Cadets on the Hopewell JROTC “Raider Team” earned runner-up honors in regional competition held recently in Virginia, claiming a coveted spot in the Army JROTC Raider National Championships to be held later this year in Georgia.

“Raider” challenges are designed to test a wide range of cadet athletic, adaptability and logistical skills. At the regional competition – described as featuring the “best of the best” – teams from seven states met in Ridgeway, Va., to vie for spots in the national finals. The Hopewell Raider squad turned in strong performances in multiple events to out-score everyone except eventual champ Buckingham County, representing a school near Ridgeway.

In addition to the strong field of competitors, rain-soaked conditions were also an obstacle the the Hopewell squad had to overcome.

“The biggest challenge was having to adapt to the conditions as soon as we came across them,” Hopewell Captain Braden Womack said.

At senior at Hopewell, Womack recently won a three-year full-tuition ROTC Scholarship to Virginia Tech and plans to compete on the Hokies Corps of Cadets’ Ranger Challenge Team next fall. He said the success at the regional event was a good indication of the Hopewell program’s progress.

“I’m proud of how the team has grown, allowing us to accomplish the goals we set,” Womack said.

At the event, the Hopewell Raider squad, coached by First Sgt. (Ret.) Dan Ferriero, collected several high finishes including second in the Team Physical Fitness Challenge and 5KM Team Run (22:21), third in the one-rope bridge crossing (1:40.75), fourth in the Litter Carry (1:34.85) and fifth in the logistics relay (2:36.72).

“The crazy thing about it,” Ferriero said, “is they know they could have even done better.”

The team will have a chance to step up its performances in various events hosting the end-of-year Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Raider Championship on Saturday, April 27. Twenty CMS teams are scheduled to participate in the open-to-the-public event, which starts at 9 a.m. at Hopewell on Beatties Ford Road in Huntersville.

The Hopewell program is under the direction of Lt. Col. (Ret.) Shawn Cowley.


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