Zachary High’s Junior ROTC rifle team recently ended its season on a high note.
According to Maj. Leslie Martin, who is in his 17th year teaching and coaching JROTC rifle and drill teams, competition begins around the start of school and can continue beyond April.
“As long as we’re still qualifying and advancing, we keep competing,” Martin said. “We’re done for this year, but we had a great run.”
During competitions, students fire 10 to 30 shots from three different positions: prone, standing and kneeling in team and individual categories.
In the fall and winter, rifle matches against 10 Baton Rouge area teams were held at Scotlandville Magnet and Lee High schools, and the Zachary squad dominated by placing first in every category of rifle team and individual events and by earning second and third finishes in most other categories, Martin said.
The performance qualified the Broncos to compete at the U.S. Army JROTC National Rifle Team Championships in Anniston, Alabama, on Feb. 18-20.
There, the squad finished as the top team from Louisiana, ranking 15th out of 1,745 Army JROTC programs in the nation. Top performers from Zachary High were Orrin Bordelon and Connor Maloy.
The team also includes senior leader Molly Mahan, who has lettered all four years in the sport; Bordelon, a junior; Kyle Dousay and Maloy, sophomores; and Peyton Baronne, Mills Day, Garret Meaux, Preston Rispone and Joy Sutton, all freshmen.
Cadets who are part of the rifle team must maintain a 2.0 GPA at the end of each semester to be eligible for the following semester, try out and earn a perfect score on a 45-question safety exam.
“Of course, they’ve got to have good eyesight with or without glasses and be physically able get into each of the positions,” Martin explained. “For some, the kneeling position can be problematic and painful because of previous knee injuries.”
No more than 12 students are accepted onto the squad.
Rifle positions and competitions are strictly governed by the same rules and regulations governing Olympic marksmanship competitions.
“This sport is great for high school students. Several U.S. colleges and universities have marksmanship teams, and potentially, students could one day earn an Olympic medal in the sport,” Martin added.