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JROTC Marksmanship Team ends season with a bang, eyes bigger challenges

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News The Marion High School JROTC Rifle Marksmanship Team finished their season with a flurry of competitions over the past two weeks. In their final three matches the cadets brought home top-tier placements in two separate state championships, as well as another JROTC regional match. Cadet Levi Hofmann, a sophomore at MHS, demonstrated he is the second-best shooter in the state of Indiana.

Competing for the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Indiana State Championship, the Giants turned in a solid performance, earning themselves their second state runner-up title this year. The CMP State Championship pitted the Giants against any high school aged team from across the state — not just JROTC teams. In December, the Giants earned the state runner-up title against just JROTC programs.

At the CMP State Championship, Hofmann led the Giants in scoring and secured himself the title as the second-best shooter in the state.

“I am really proud of this accomplishment,” said Hofmann, who was the state JROTC marksmanship champion last year. “It is good to see that all of my practice time and hard work is paying off.”

The Giants also competed in a separate state championship on Saturday hosted by the Indiana American Legion. There, the Giants team, sponsored by the Bryon Thornburg American Legion Post #10, nearly swept all the top placements. The Giants earned the overall highest team score, finishing in first place. 

Once again, Hofmann earned the second place title, having tied for first in the overall point score but losing in the bulls-eye count tie-breaker.

Hailey Teeguarden, MHS junior, finished fourth; Taylor Sorah, a senior, took fifth; and Josiah Hamilton, a sophomore, earned sixth. First-year shooter Korbin Elliott, an MHS freshman, set a new personal high score of 241, thus earning him the Expert Marksmanship Badge.

MHS JROTC Cadet Korbin Elliott shot a personal high score of 241, earning him an Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge during the Indiana American Legion State Rifle Championship.

In their third match, a regional competition hosted by Concordia High School JROTC, the Giants earned another second place finish while battling against sixteen other JROTC teams. Notable finishes at the match included Hofmann finishing third, Teeguarden taking fourth, and Sorah earning fifth.

Reflecting on her four years as a member of the varsity rifle team, Sorah commented: “Marksmanship is a difficult sport. Many people think it is easy. But it is tough.”

She accumulated many state and regional competitive titles during her tenure, but she also recognized her responsibility to pass on what she has learned.

“I encouraged the team members to identify a new shooter and work with them, sharing your knowledge,” said Sorah, who also served as the team captain for the past two years. “We each need to develop those who are following in our footsteps.”

And the Giants certainly listened to what Sorah and her coaches were teaching.

“It has been a fantastic year for our rifle team,” said team coach retired Lt. Col. David Farlow. “The cadets qualified to compete at two national championships and earned two state runner-up championship titles. We also achieved great improvement in the individual marksmanship abilities of several of the team members. The cadets mentoring each other has paid big dividends.”

MHS JROTC Cadet Josiah Hamilton takes aim during the American Legion’s Indiana State Marksmanship Championship. Hamilton helped the Giants Rifle Marksmanship Team take first place overall, while he finished as the sixth-place shooter overall.

The Giants’ success has called for a change that will require even more from the rifle team members.

“Next year we will start a team who will compete in the precision category,” Farlow said. “This is a huge step up for our shooters that requires new rifles, clothing, and training.”

For the past six years, MHS cadets have competed in the sporter category. The precision category is the same level where collegiate athletes and Olympians compete. It is the top tier within the air rifle competitive categories. This move will offer the cadets the chance to compete for marksmanship scholarships to universities with rifle teams.  

“We will go from being the big fish in the little pond to becoming the minnow swimming in the ocean,” Farlow said about the advancement to the precision level. “Our top marksmen are ready for the challenge. But they will have to work hard to become competitive in this new category.”

There is also a huge price tag that goes with the move into the precision category. The rifles are very expensive, as is the specialty clothing required.

Recently, the Marion High School Alumni Association hosted an online fundraising drive to help raise the money for the purchase of the required uniforms. The Giants are well on their way to being able to outfit the new team.

“I am truly humbled by the continued support our rifle team and JORTC in general receives from the community,” Farlow said. “We are truly blessed to have such great organizations and individuals who are willing to support these fine young people as they endeavor to accomplish great things.”

Those interested in supporting the Marion High School Rifle Marksmanship Team should contact the JROTC Department at the Marion High School, 664-9051, x. 2455.