RHS JROTC unit is heading for orienteering competition in March, promises another successful year

By Jessica Vaughn
Education Editor
jessica@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 2/23/22

ROBERTSDALE — Following a successful 2021, the Robertsdale High School NJROTC has started 2022 strong. The unit, which is composed of cadets from RHS and Elberta High School, has already met …

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RHS JROTC unit is heading for orienteering competition in March, promises another successful year

Posted

ROBERTSDALE — Following a successful 2021, the Robertsdale High School NJROTC has started 2022 strong. The unit, which is composed of cadets from RHS and Elberta High School, has already met with success in multiple competitions this year, including shooting and orienteering.
These successes may be expanding as the year continues, as the unit heads to California in March to compete in the NJROTC Orienteering National Championship. The unit will head out on March 10, practice in California on March 11, and then run events on March 12 and 13. Commander Frank Starr, senior Naval science instructor at RHS, hopes the students will get a chance to sightsee on March 14 before flying home the following day.
In orienteering, teams comprised of up to five cadets compete to find checkpoints on a map. Each cadet is timed individually, and the top three times in each round for each team are counted. Scores are added up, and the team with the lowest score wins.
With the nature of orienteering, taking place outside in large, wooded areas such as national parks, Starr said it's difficult to get the students out for practice on any given day. Instead, they get the most practice while in action, competing at meets. Starr said he's "more about what he can do than what he can't do," and believes in the students in his unit.
"We've got to go compete in meets to have the chance to advance," Starr said. "And when the schools are doing their part, the kids are doing their part, the school system provides us with buses and equipment, we appreciate it. Because you can have all the best kids, but if the school system won't let you try something, then it won't matter."

Cadets heading to California in March are Joshua Houston, Abrianna Madden, Andrew Prather and Sean Stelzer from RHS, and Michael Badger, Angela Brown, Samantha Butler-Murphy, Victor King, Anders Sudduth, Haley Wheeles and Vivian Wilson from EHS.
The cadets have attended five orienteering meets this season, travelling to Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama, Hard Labor Creek in Rutledge, Georgia, Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park in Tallahassee, Florida, and the unit hosted a meet at Blakeley State Park.
It's not just orienteering the unit has been focusing, and excelling, on. During January, the unit's air rifle team competed in Anniston, Alabama during the Alabama State Championship. During 2021, the unit took six cadets and finished second. This year, 13 shooters (three teams) competed and placed second, third, and sixth.
Individual shooter scores were: James Stanford (RHS), third; Vivian Wilson (EHS), fourth; Abrianna Madden (RHS), fifth; Victor King (EHS), seventh; Joshua Kaiser (EHS), 10th; Gary Morin (RHS), 11th; Michael Williams (EHS), 12th; Haley Wheeles (EHS), 14th; Layla Bush (RHS), 16th; Luke Bornholt (EHS), 20th; Emma White (RHS), 23rd; Aaron Sailors (EHS), 25th; and Michael Badgers (EHS), 31st.
Stanford went on to shoot at the NJROTC National Championship in February.
"We're very fortunate to have people like Eddie Tyler (BCPS Superintendent), Joe Sharp (RHS principal) and Branton Bailey (EHS principal), because they allow us to go places and allow us to have these teams," said Starr. "And Kendall Mowdy (Career Technical Coordinator) and Shirley Carpenter (Career Technical Secretary), anything we need they get it for us. And when the kids put in the time between homework and dinner and personal lives, and the school and community commit the resources, then you can accomplish your goals at the highest levels."

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