MOLENA, Ga. — On Nov. 3, East Surry High School’s Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) Cardinal Battalion Raider teams competed against 60 other teams from across the nation — including one team that had traveled all the way from American Samoa.
Competing in the Male Division, the A-Team, made up of Captain Samuel Marsh, Garrett Cannoy, Brandon Cosgrove, Samuel Faries, Cody Gaskill, Parker Hale, Christian Mabe, Daniel Marsh, Daniel Mata, Daniel Stewart, Nicholas Yanez, and Andrew Zachman, earned trophies for third place in the Physical Team Test and fourth place in Rope Bridge. The team also placed eighth in the Gauntlet, ninth in the 5K Run, which the team did at the end of the day, and 13th in the Cross Country Rescue event.
Competition began early in the morning, and the 5K Run ended around 5:30 p.m. The competition was a rigorous test of strength, stamina, team work and technical skills across a wide variety of outdoor adventure challenges.
Overall, East Surry’s A-Team ranked fifth nationally at the end of the day. The first through fourth place teams were from schools which were all at least three times the size of East Surry’s less than 600 students (1,685, 1,987, 4,154 and 1,582 students).
The top 11 places in the Physical Team Test were separated by less than 10 seconds on their course times. The fastest six Rope Bridge teams completed the bridge, crossed the stream bed and broke down the bridge within 6.5 seconds of each other. That was the extreme nature of the competitive environment.
The B-Team, made up of Captain Abbagail Hooker, Dalton Allen, Colton Bruner, Molly Bryant, Janelly Durr, Shayne Lewellyn, Samuel George, Bethany Johnson, Jourdain McCord, Jarrett Rodgers, Kendra Shinault, and Samantha Goins, earned 14th place nationally in the Mixed Division (male and female) category.
On Sunday morning, the Raider teams cheered Daniel Marsh and Molly Bryant as they ably represented East Surry individually in The Ultimate Raider Competition, before the event culminated with the awards ceremony at the Gerald I. Lawhorn Scouting Base near Molena.
In dry and cool fall weather, an enthusiastic group of family members and supporters led by East Surry High School Principal Diane Beane were impressed by the level of camaraderie and competition between and among the participating schools.
Team Coach 1st Sgt. Ronald O. Montgomery, U.S. Army (retired), was extremely gratified with the teams’ performances in their first national level competition. He said he looks forward to next year as the current team members — mostly sophomores and juniors develop in strength and experience.
The teams had earned a funded slot to attend the Raider Nationals during the fourth ROTC Brigade’s Best of the Best Raider Meet at UNC-Charlotte last spring. Two of that team’s graduated seniors, Cole Carson and Owen Hawks, also made the trip to watch this year’s teams compete.
The teams will be competing again this coming weekend at Fred T. Foard High School in Newton to begin the qualification cycle for next year’s Raider Nationals.