Saturday marked the annual League Three Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Raider Competition at Shippensburg University. High schools from central Pennsylvania gathered to compete in the culmination of their year of training in military tasks. In order to do well in the events, the Raider teams had to work quickly as a cohesive unit in an event that pushed the team members both physically and mentally.
During the school year, much like a sports team, the JROTC Raider teams go through practice that focuses on the Army skills of the competition. In order to train for the events, the high school cadets focus their energies into not just knowing how to complete the events, but working under pressure and with a time limit.
The competition consists of five different events beginning with an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). The JROTC Raider teams took this test, the same one given as a diagnostic tool for the whole Army, first thing at the competition. Cadets were tested to Army Standard on two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a two-mile run starting at Britton Park on the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails system. JROTC cadets from Cumberland Valley scored highest overall on the APFT and had a 344 for the male top score and 347 for the female top score.
The land navigation skills course tested accuracy and efficiency as teams were tasked to find stakes in the ground at specific distances and directions. Armed with a pace count and a compass, the competitors ran across the SU Rec fields, finding the right points in order to receive the maximum amount of credit. Cedar Cliff High School’s team found all of its points in an impressive 4 hours, 43 minutes, winning the event.
Amid simulated cries of agony, the Raider teams conducted medical aid on SU Cadets to show they understood first aid and could complete basic life-saving tasks. Cadet Michael Chubb, a Military Science Level II sophomore, managed to lose his voice yelling in simulated pain with his arm wound. The noise increased stress levels and gave JROTC cadets a more realistic lane to test their skills on live subjects. Cedar Cliff High School won the event with only a 2 percent reduction in grade and the quickest time on the litter carry.
The event that tests a team’s ability to work together and where practice shows most importantly is the One Rope Bridge. The team must cross a water obstacle using one rope as a bridge between the two sides. To do well in this event, Raider teams had to practice the knots, positioning and execution of the tasks while under the clock. Minutes faster than their competitors, Cumberland Valley finished first in this event.
The last event of the competition was a three-kilometer run. Teams had to stick together on this event, making each only as fast as the slowest competitor. After a long day, this event was a grueling push toward the finish line.
After the competition finished, Cumberland Valley High School ended on top. Second place was taken by Cedar Cliff high school and Wilson High School came in third.