Trophy Winners

Precision Shooters Hope to Win at National Junior Olympics

In last month’s blistering heat of competition in Anniston, Alabama, Joshua’s NJROTC Precision Division scorched their opponents, placing first among 600 NJROTC programs across the nation. This week, our marksmen Grace Sharp, Carlos Martinez, Haydin Parker, Josh Groussel, and Braeden Lewis will meet again at the humble town to vie for the All Service Championship.

This victory provided a great morale boost to the team as they reach for greatness in Anniston and throughout their ROTC career.

Team Captain Grace Sharp said, “We will take a lot of pride in this win. It was a big accomplishment for us, as I felt we really worked hard as a team this year.”

Compared to more popular sports, such as football and soccer, precision shooting does not achieve the same recognition; yet the entire process of aiming at the bulls-eye and pulling the trigger wreaks havoc on one’s mind and body.

“[The sport of] rifle is [a] 95% mental sport, but at the same time, it still very physical: For example, shooting a 60-shot standing is like running a 5K,” Braeden said. “I would like to have recognition for what we accomplish. I’m willing to bet we have more trophies out of any school program. I know in Texas it’s ‘football or nothing,’ but it would be nice to get a send off or just something more than an announcement over the speaker.”

The greatest challenge in precision shooting is keeping a calm mindset throughout the match, as a negative mentality could derail the whole performance.

On coping with stress, he said, “One way I like to relax after shooting a bad shot is to repeat, ‘It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.’“

Struggles do not only exist on the field, but also in the classroom. Teachers and the rifle team spend extra hours on tutoring and labs to make up for the absences during tournaments. Nonetheless, classroom teaching is a different experience and some people prefer a more formal setting.

“I wish we would have less homework on rifle trips,” Grant Lewis said,  “I understand we miss class and instruction but trying to do assignments we miss, without guidance, and then getting graded on [them] is especially difficult.”

Regardless of academic roadblocks, every cadet retains high grades.

NJROTC Instructor Lt. Colonel Davidson said, “The Cadets not only [work] hard at shooting, but also at their studies. Most of them are ‘A’ students.”

Grant, along with Braeden, Sharp, and Martinez, were chosen in round I to  participate in the National Junior Olympics on April 4 in Colorado Springs.

“When Colonel told me I was going to the Junior Olympics, I had never felt so happy.” Martinez said. “I was so excited to know that I’m going to Colorado Springs.”

Despite hardships seemingly around every corner, nothing can ever separate the strong camaraderie of Joshua’s elite marksmen; rather, it strengthens their bond as they push through barriers and strive for greatness.

“Our team is a huge family; we all are very comfortable with each other.  We get along most of the time, but like big families we do argue,” Braeden said. “But at the end of the day, we still laugh and joke.”