Mention shooting programs and high schools in the same breath to some people—especially some state and federal lawmakers—and you're likely to elicit an incredulous response, and disbelief that such a thing could possibly exist in America.
The fact is, the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) marksmanship program is gaining in popularity among cadets and non-cadets at high schools across the U.S.
In late February, Navy JROTC cadets participated in the NJROTC Air Rifle Championship in Anniston, AL and Layton, UT. The event marked the second stage of the Civilian Marksmanship Program-hosted annual competition.
The NJROTC Air Rifle Championship included more than 190 cadets who qualified from a field of 3,075 who participated in the NJROTC postal competition. The postal competition—the initial competition held in the fall of 2012—required cadets to fire at their targets then mail in their results to be scored.
The championship consisted of two days of firing by cadets, in which two divisions of competitors, Sporter and Precision, vied for gold, silver and bronze medals. Teams shot 0.177-caliber pellet air rifles in three different positions: prone, kneeling and standing. Winning teams and competitors were determined based on their two-day aggregate scores.
Capturing the Sporter division was the Oviedo (FL) High School NJROTC Marksmanship Team, an achievement of particular interest because the team is entirely female.
Oviedo High School Marksmanship Teams have won first-place for each of the last eight years at the Florida Navy Marksmanship Competition, held each December. This year, the team went on to out-shoot 26 other teams from across the country to take first place at the Navy national competition.
The Oviedo team was honored at a banquet held March 2 and was awarded a $1,000 check, a $100 certificate from Daisy Outdoor Products and a competition rifle, in addition to the honor of displaying the national trophy cup for the next year at Oviedo High School.
"This is a tremendous group of girls on the team," said retired Master Chief Dale Marteney, NJROTC instructor and air rifle coach for Oviedo. "I put a lot of hard work into training them, but they are the ones that shoot. My glory is watching them compete and they did a great job."
By winning the Navy National Marksmanship Championship, the Oviedo team advances to the Grand National competition, set for March 21 to 23, in Anniston, AL, where it will compete against other NJROTC teams and JROTC teams from all service branches.
Dedicated to furthering youth shooting program, the NRA Foundation is a major contributing sponsor of the Oviedo team, as well as to JROTC programs across the country.