JROTC Cadets Host Biathlon; Takes Top Finishes


Posted:  by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - NewsThe Marion High School JROTC Program hosted their spring biathlon on Saturday. Fourteen teams competed in the running and marksmanship event. The Marion teams earned multiple first-place finishes and produced the meet’s fastest female competitors.

Marion High School JROTC cadets Tayler Garriott, DJ Smith, and Thomas Schenck encourage team member Hailey Teeguarden as she sprints the final portion of the biathlon hosted at MHS on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Teeguarden and Garriott teamed up to win the coed category.

The two-person teams competed in their respective categories as male, coed, or female teams. The cadets ran 1,000 meters and then were required to take five shots with an air rifle at a target 10 meters away. For every missed shot, the cadets had to run a penalty lap of approximately 150 meters. The cadets completed this cycle three times. After the last shooting portion, the cadets ran one final 1,000-meter lap. The individual cadets’ times were combined with their team member into one team time. The fastest overall time won.

Marion’s female team of senior Adriana Aleman and junior Audrey Dickerson earned the top placement, with a combined time of 62:13. The Marion coed team of junior Hailey Teeguarden and sophomore Tayler Garriott claimed the top finish in their category.

Aleman easily earned the title of fastest female competitor by beating all other female cadets by more than two minutes with a blistering speed of 28:10.

“It was exciting to win in my last competition as a Giant,” Aleman said. “It has been a great four years to be a cadet and compete in all the different kinds of events.”

Marion High School JROTC cadets DJ Smith, Kaleb Starr, and Josiah Hamilton take aim during the shooting portion of the Giants’ spring biathlon at MHS on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

The Giants also earned two third-place finishes in the male and coed categories as senior Austen Robbins and junior DJ Smith teamed up in the male category, and freshman Jessica Pickell and sophomore Josiah Hamilton competed in the coed category.

“These cadets are amazing” said retired Lt. Col. David Farlow, MHS’s senior Army instructor. “Biathlons are very difficult. Cadets must balance running speed versus being able to maintain steady breathing for accurate shooting. The cadets’ lungs were on fire and their hearts were pounding, all of which makes it difficult to shoot straight and hit the target. But each missed shot brings the penalty of more running.”

Competing in her first-ever biathlon, Dickerson commented: “It was fun. But the shooting part was really hard. I was nervous each time I shot because I really didn’t want any penalties. They are awful.”

Marion High School JROTC cadets Thomas Schenck, Austen Robbins, and Josiah Hamilton encourage Audrey Dickerson to sprint her final section of the biathlon hosted at MHS on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Dickerson teamed with Adriana Aleman (not pictured) to win the female category during the annual competition against 13 other teams.

Marion High School JROTC cadets Tayler Garriott and Gavin Collins take aim during the shooting portion of the MHS biathlon on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Team member Jessica Pickell walks to her shooting position after completing the first 1,000-meter run.

JROTC Rifle Team 13th among nation’s best

Posted:  by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - NewsThe Marion High School JROTC Rifle Marksmanship Team placed 13th during their second-ever trip to a national-level competition.

The Marion High School JROTC Rifle Marksmanship Team finished 13th at a national championship hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Ga. Picture from left are team members Jade’Lynn Kendall, Hailey Teeguarden, Coach David Farlow, Taylor Sorah, and Levi Hofmann. 

The team of four Marion cadets was among only 30 teams from across the county to qualify for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Junior Rifle National Championship. The AMU championship was open to any youth shooters, not just JROTC cadets.

“It was a great honor and speaks well of our team to have qualified for attendance at the AMU championship,” said retired Lt. Col. David Farlow, the JROTC senior Army instructor and Rifle Team coach. “Our team has shot well all year so it was exciting to break into the ‘big league’ to shoot against the best from across the country. I am so proud of them.”

The Marion tem was comprised of cadets Taylor Sorah, senior; Hailey Teeguarden, junior; and Levi Hofmann and Jade’Lynn Kendall, both sophomores.

“It was a good change of pace to go and shoot in Georgia on a military base,” said Sorah, the Giant’s Rifle Team captain. “We learned so much from the more experienced shooters there.”

And an experience it was. The Giants had to shoot in two different relays in as many days. During each of the relays, the marksmen shot in the three standard positions of standing, kneeling, and prone. However, the number of qualifying shots for each position was twice what the Giants were used to shooting in competitions.

“During these longer matches, physical and mental fatigue can affect the shooter,” Farlow said. “Also, the cadets had to learn to deal with the pressure of shooting in such a high-level competition. It can be nerve-wracking.”

Teeguarden said participating in the championship was another opportunity for growth for the team.

”It was really neat to see so many other teams there who were clearly much better than us,” she said.  “I learned so much by just watching the better marksmen; learning what they do and how they prepare for the match was a great benefit.”

Marion High School JROTC Cadets Jade’Lynn Kendall, Hailey Teeguarden, Taylor Sorah, and Levi Hofmann take aim during the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Junior Rifle National Championship at Fort Benning, Ga. 

This was the Giants’ first visit to the AMU Championship. However, they competed last year at the Army JROTC National Championship held at Camp Perry, Ohio. The cadets will return again to shoot in the JROTC National Championship competition next week.

The Marion Rotary, Marion High School Alumni Association, and other individuals provided generous donations to help cover some of the costs for attendance to the AMU match.

“We simply could not have been able to make this trip without the generous donations,” Farlow said. “I know our team is truly grateful for the support from the community.”

In addition to the Army JROTC National Championship match, the Giants have several other upcoming competitions, including the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s Indiana State Championship and the American Legion’s Indiana Youth Shooting Championship.

MHS JROTC Raiders earn top 10 at Nationals

Posted:  by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director

The Marion High School JROTC Raiders competed this past weekend against the country’s best Army JROTC teams at the Raider National Championship, and both MHS teams finished in the top 10.

MHS fielded both an all-male and an all-female team, which finished 10th and 7th in their respective categories. In addition, two Marion cadets earned accolades for their placements during the Best Raider Competition: seniors Thomas Schenck and Adriana Aleman placed 15th and 25th in the nation, respectively.

Members of the Giants female Raider Team earned the MHS JROTC program their first national trophy at the Raider National Championship in Molena, Ga., Nov. 4-5, 2017. The team placed 7th overall and 5th in the physical team test.

>> click here to view more photos from the competition

During the Best Raider Competition, the cadets run nearly two miles while wearing a 35-pound backpack and negotiating various obstacles, including a 10-foot wall they must scale.

“These young people are amazing,” said Lt. Col. (Retired) David Farlow, the senior Army instructor and coach for the Raider Team. “These results are the culmination of months of hard work and dedication. Our cadets faced off against the best teams from across the country, including many private military academies. The Giants proved that a small program from Marion, Indiana, can compete and win against the best raiders from anywhere.”

Five events comprise the Raider National Championship:

  • 5-kilometer mountain run
  • 1-mile cross country rescue, where cadets wear 35-pound backpacks, carry a stretcher weighing up to 150 pounds, and negotiate various obstacles, including a 10-foot wall they must scale and a 30 feet long mud pit.
  • One-rope bridge crossing nearly 90 feet over a river
  • Physical team test, where cadets run and carry a variety of items while negotiating an 800-meter course with various obstacles
  • The Gauntlet, where the cadets wear 35-pound backpacks and run nearly 1 mile through a wooded terrain while negotiating various obstacles, including a wall they must scale (10 feet tall for the female teams, 12 feet tall for the male teams.
The MHS all-female team earned an impressive 5th place finish in the Physical Team Test, thus earning the Giants their first-ever trophy from a National Championship.

“I am very proud of how well my ladies came together and performed as a unit,” said Aleman, commander of the female Raider team. “You could see us really meld together, relying on each other while learning how to overcome the exhaustion associated with Raider competitions. These Raiders are awesome.”

The 7th-place finish is the highest finish ever for a JROTC team from Marion High School at a national competition.
Cadet Gavin Collins, a sophomore who competed for the first time at Raider Nationals, weighed in on the experience: “It made me feel good to see that all of the hard work we put in paid off. The competition was very hard, but the trip was a lot of fun.”

Many individuals and organizations donated to help the MHS Raider team travel to the championship.

“We simply could not provide the cadets with such an opportunity without the tremendous support from our community and school system,” Farlow said.

Members of the Giants male Raider Team sprint for the finish line at the Raider National Championship in Molena, Ga., Nov. 4-5, 2017. The female team placed 7th in the nation, and the male team placed 10th.

>> Click here to view more photos from the competition

The full list of cadets who competed:

All-female Raiders team:
  • Adriana Aleman
  • Paige Asher
  • Jillayne Bass
  • Audrey Dickerson
  • I'Yela Hornaday
  • Emily LeBlanc
  • Kayleina O'Donnell
  • Haley O'Neil
  • Kylee O'Neil
  • Jessica Pickell
  • Cheyenne Russ
  • Hailey Teeguarden
All-male Raiders team:
  • Eric Asher
  • Gavin Collins
  • Tayler Garriott
  • Joseph O'Donnell
  • Joseph Parker
  • Tyron Rice
  • Lucas Riley
  • Austen Robbins
  • Juan Rodriguez
  • Thomas Schenck
  • Troy Smith
  • Kaleb Starr

MHS JROTC featured on WIWU's Crossroads

JROTC cadets win runner-up, individual marksmanship state titles

Posted:  by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
The Marion High School JROTC Rifle Marksmanship Team battled Saturday against the best JROTC teams at the JROTC State Championship match, and came home state runner-up.

The six-member team earned the second place finish as they conclude the fall marksmanship season. Two of the Giants’ marksmen also earned top accolades during the match.

Shooting a solid performance, Marion senior Taylor Sorah tied for first place in scoring, but the bullseye count knocked her down to second place. Sorah also earned the highest score in the kneeling position and took second place in the standing position.

The Rifle Team members shoot air rifles at targets 33 feet away. They shoot from three positions: standing, kneeling, and prone (lying flat on the ground). Bullseyes are approximately the size of a quarter coin, and millimeters can separate a shooter from winning or losing. The competition uses the standardized rules established by the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

“I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t win the Championship,” Sorah said. “But I was so excited to see some of our younger shooters do so well at the match. Some of them shot their highest score ever.”

Marion sophomore Levi Hofmann earned a third place finish in the standing position and finished fourth overall.

“It has been a great fall season for our Rifle Team”, said retired Lt. Col. David Farlow the team’s coach and the JROTC’s senior Army instructor. “We have some really great marksmen on the team. Regrettably, our shooting didn’t come together today as we had hoped. But there are plenty of other high-level matches coming up during the spring season. So we will have to better focus and prepare.”

The Giant’s Rifle Team will find out Friday if they qualified for the U.S. Army JROTC National Marksmanship Championship this February. Additionally, they have an excellent chance of qualifying to attend the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s National Championship as well. Those results will be released Dec. 18.

The Giants have consistently produced a top-level Rifle Team over the past several years, earning multiple state championships and trips to national competitions. Farlow credits much of the success to his assistant coaches, community support, and of course the cadets.

“Our team is truly blessed to have two fantastic volunteers in David Kuester and Lee Hatten helping to coach the team,” Farlow said. “They both work well with the cadets. But we are also fortunate to have a great community willing to help sponsor our Rifle Team and assist us with additional training opportunities.”

Organizations including Deer Creek Conservation Club and Realty, the American Legion, and others have sponsored cadets to attend summer marksmanship camps and other related events.

Other members of the varsity Giants Rifle Team are Rhianna Gary, Hailey Teeguarden, Josiah Hamilton and JadeLynn Kendall.