Chief Rodney Fagan, who leads the JROTC program at Osborne, said his 12 male and 12 female cadets competed against 72 other teams from all over the country for the Raider Challenge championship the weekend of Nov. 2 in Molena, about an hour and a half south of Atlanta. The female team came in second in their competition.
This is the third year Osborne cadets have competed in the competition, which began in 2009.
“The competition is a grueling event conducted over two days and is modeled after the active Army’s elite Ranger competition,” Fagan said.
He said cadets have been preparing for Raider season and the competition since July. The team is recognized as a varsity sport at Osborne.
Students competed in five events: a physical team test, where students test their agility, strength, balance and stamina; rope bridge, in which teams construct a standard one rope bridge and move across a lake; cross country rescue, in which members splint a leg fracture, then carry six 35-pound rucksacks and one 95-pound stretcher over a one-mile course; raider gauntlet, in which teams carry five 35-pound rucksacks over a two-mile course; and a 5K team run.
Fagan said Francis Lewis High School of Fresh Meadows, N.Y, has dominated the challenge for years.
“With 741 JROTC students, Francis Lewis is the largest of the 1,725 high school JROTC programs in the country,” he said. “After finishing second last year, the Osborne male team’s goal was determined to dethrone the champions this year.”
Male team Captain Erik Rodriguez said hearing his team’s name announced as the winner was bizarre.
“I felt like I never woke up,” he said. “I was in shock a little because the team we beat has always won first place, so for a little school in Marietta, Ga., it seemed a bit surreal,”
Female team captain Marissa Langarica, also a senior, said the team had to rebuild this year after losing nine cadets to graduation last year.
Even so, the team came together to bring a trophy home, she said.
“It really means a lot since our school has a bad reputation,” she said. “A lot of people are proud of us and a lot of people were dedicated to making our school look good.”