Robertsdale High Naval JROTC teams perform well in competitions

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ROBERTSDALE — The Robertsdale High School Naval Junior ROTC finished 2021 on multiple high notes, performing well in several competitions toward the end of the year.

Teams, which are comprised of students from Elberta and Robertsdale high schools, finished the year strong in air rifle, orienteering and CyberPatriot competitions, said Commander Frank Starr, senior Naval science instructor at RHS.

“We want to thank the faculty at Robertsdale and Elberta high schools and all of those that support us in allowing our teams to be successful,” Starr said.

Air rifle teams from Robertsdale High School have been practicing and competed over the weekend at the Warhawk Open in Anniston, in preparation for the NJROTC Area 8 Championship, which will be held Saturday, Jan. 15 in Anniston.

“This is a qualifier for the national competition,” Starr said. “We have performed well in past competitions and are expecting to place well again this year.”

The air rifle team recently finished third among competitors in NJROTC’s Area 8 in the Secretary of the Navy match, Starr said, which is part of the Civilian Marksmanship Program, available to ROTC programs in all branches of the military.

“This is a postal competition,” Starr said, “meaning shooters are sent targets with their name and information on them. The targets are filled out here at the school and sent back for evaluation.”

Competitors shoot 10 targets in three positions, prone (lying on the stomach), kneeling and standing with a possible score of 100 points in each position or a possible total score of 300, Starr said.

Overall, scores from the four best shooters of the day combine to create a team score. Out of 466 teams, three teams from RHS finished 25th (top 5.4 %), 59th (12.7 %) and 124th (26.6 %) nationally.

Individually, Cadet Abrianna Madden, a student at RHS, was the top competitor among her teammates, finishing with a total score of 257, finishing 86th (top 4 %) among 2,144 competitors nationally.

Cadet Haley Wheeles, a student at Elberta High, finished with a score of 255 to finish ranked 109th (top 5.1 %), Cadet James Stanford, RHS, finished with a score of 252 to finish ranked 141st (top 6.5 %) and Cadet Vivian Wilson, EHS, finished with a score of 251 to finish ranked 156th (top 7.3 %).

Additional competitors included cadets Michael Williams, Luke Bornholt, Aaron Sailors, Victor King and Joshuah Kaiser from EHS and Kylie Crowder, Layla Bush, Gary Morin, Ashlynn Simmons and Michael Badger from RHS.

Teams from RHS also competed in the Area 8 Orienteering Championship held Dec. 18 at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham.

Orienteering is a competition where teams of up to five cadets compete to find checkpoints on a map. Much like a cross country race, 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 is the winner.

Championships competitions at the Orange level, what is also known as the JV course; and Green/Brown level, which are the highest level, or varsity course (the Green course is for boys, the Brown course is for girls).

At the Orange level, runners officially finished fifth at the level with Abrianna Madden finishing second, Haley Wheeles finishing third, Angela Brown, EHS, finishing fourth; and Samantha Butler-Murphy finishing fifth.

Cadet Vivian Wilson, EHS, finished third on the Brown course for RHS while Green course competitors included cadets Michael Badger, Joshua Houston, Victor King, Sean Stelzer and Anders Sudduth.

The CyberPatriot team also finished ranked in the top 17 % nationally and once again achieved a platinum ranking in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, Starr said.

According to uscyberpatriot.org, CyberPatriot is the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Education Program.

The competition puts teams in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Through two rounds of virtual competition, teams earn points by finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities while maintaining critical services.

Points are accumulated based on the number of problems located and the speed at which they are located. Teams are given designations of silver, gold and platinum based on points accumulated.

“This is our third year of competition,” Starr said. “When we started three years ago, we had no equipment and through the leadership of Petty Officer Erin Pate, we have grown into a competitive program.”

This is the second year in a row the RHS Naval Junior ROTC program has earned a platinum ranking, finishing as the highest ranked NJROTC team in the state and third in Alabama in the All-Service Division, which includes all JROTCs, Sea Cadets and Civil Air Patrol programs.

Competitors include cadets Andora Bamford, RHS, Luke Bornholt, EHS, Jeiser Contreras, RHS, Jacob Darby, EHS, Cooper Davis, EHS, Bryce Hubbard, RHS, Laura Lemoine, RHS, Om Patel, RHS, Lleyma Segura, RHS, and Michael Williams, EHS.

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