JROTC Qualifies For States 2018


Juan Toranzo

Both female and male teams pose with their medals after qualifying for States.

Coral Gables Senior High’s female and male Raider teams have qualified for States once again. On Nov. 17, both teams traveled to Tropical park where they competed for a first or second place spot against other Raider teams. The pressure was on as the teams raced against their personal times and endurance, with the desire to claim a spot for States rising every second.

Both female and male teams are comprised of 12 individuals each. The teams are made up of students from different grades that have demonstrated competent skill proficiency in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). These students are constantly being challenged through JROTC practices Monday through Friday. The practices mimic the events the teams would face the day of State Qualifiers and other competitions. Having this previous knowledge, they are able to train in those specific events with the hopes of improving their times in each run through of the events.

On Saturday, the events the teams saw were the five-kilometer team run, 50-yard tire flip, one-mile cross-country rescue run with weighted packs and weighted stretcher, first aid test, an obstacle course and the rope bridge. The determining factor for who qualifies for States is the time achieved on these events. Then, the school’s teams are ranked accordingly. Our male team ranked second in all events except the tire flip, in which they earned fourth place. Their overall ranking was second place, allowing them to qualify for States. The female team ranked first in the fitness challenge and rope bridge event and would then earn second place for the rest of the events. Their overall ranking was first place. Both teams will be moving forward to the State championships on Nov. 30 – Dec.1.

“I had no doubt that my team would make it to the state level. We have really put a lot of hard work and time into training. As the Battalion Commander, this gives me an enormous amount of pride in my team. As the team leader, I get nervous and observe every team quietly. In the end, we all pushed hard and broke mental and physical barriers. I know that when I graduate high school, the future of this program will be in well-protected hands,” senior Juan Toranzo said.

To train for these events, the teams practice daily; it is not hard to miss the sight of our Raider teams running through campus after school or tying the rope bridge near the soccer field. Through these practices, they can determine where they are struggling the most or in what parts are they losing the most time. Because their time is what is being ranked, each second counts.

“I feel very proud about our victory. All those long practice hours really did pay off. Even though we did place first overall there is still room for improvement. There is no doubt in my mind that we will place first at states as well,” junior Melanie Artiles said.

The next step for our victorious Raider teams is to attend the State championship conference in Lake Wales, Florida. At this conference, they will compete against the top schools in the surrounding cities. If our teams win the State title, then they would be named Florida State Raider Champions and the transition from Raider season to Drill commences. Most students on the Raiders team also participate in the school’s Drill Team. While the Raider teams are more focused on the endurance and the physical strength needed to complete these tasks, the Drill team is more about the precision and execution of the commands. The performance of both our female and male Raider teams was nothing short of great.

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  • The girls Raider team ready for the day’s events.

  • Battalion Commander Juan Toranzo leading the team in the 5k run.

  • Both the female and male teams await the award ceremony.

  • The male Raider team is awarded their medals.

  • The male Raider team won second place overall.

  • Both Raider team celebrate their victory.