Article contributed by King George High School
The King George High School NJROTC Rifle Team placed first in the Sporter division of the 2014 JROTC Three-Position National Championships. The match was held March 20-22 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Competition Center at Camp Perry in Port Clinton, OH. There they competed against the top 202 shooters from Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy JROTC programs from around the country. The four cadets representing King George were Hunter Cushman, Ben Frith, Carrie Richbourg, and Jenna Heiston.
For the team to qualify for the National Championship Match they had to advance through three rounds of competition. The journey began in October where a record-breaking 8,025 junior shooters participated in the first round matches, with the highest-scoring teams and individuals in each branch qualifying for the JROTC Regional Service Championships. The King George team placed fifth in the Navy in the first round. That earned them an invitation to the Camp Perry Regional in February where they finished second. Hunter Cushman placed first in the individual standings in the regional competition. His was the top score from all four regional competitions. The top shooters and teams from each of the four regional competitions earned a spot in the National Championships.
King George competes primarily in the Sporter category of Three Position Air Rifle. Two different Three Position Air Rifle events are available. Precision Air Rifle is modeled after Olympic-style shooting and allows the use of expensive specialized target rifles and equipment. Sporter Air Rifle is designed for those who desire to compete with a minimum of equipment and expense. In both types of shooting, competitors fire at targets at a distance of 10 meters in three different positions, prone, standing, and kneeling.
The National Championship Match was held on an 80-point air gun range, equipped with 10- meter firing points and state-of-the-art electronic targets. The electronic targets, used in some of the most elite ranges in the world, update scores automatically and are displayed on large television monitors within the range.
The match was conducted over two days with the competitors firing 20 shots each day in each of the three positions. The King George team trailed by 32 points after the first day of competition, 2198 to 2166. They came back on day two with a strong performance (2191) to win the championship by 7 points, 4357 to 4350.
At the end of each day’s firing the top eight individual shooters competed in a final. Final round scores are added to the three-position score to determine individual place winners. The final consists of 10 shots from the standing position, fired one shot at a time, each fired on command within a 45 second time limit. Hunter finished in first place after day one finals with a score of 653.6. On the second day two King George shooters earned a place in the finals, Hunter Cushman (1st) and Carrie Richbourg (6th). After the finals Hunter finished once again in first place and Carrie in seventh with scores of 652.4 and 642.9. Jenna finished 93rd, Ben 18th , and Carrie 10th overall in the individual standings. Hunter placed first overall in the individual standings for the second consecutive year, earning the maximum possible four gold medals (three individual, one team).
Three former King George Rifle team members have gone on to compete in NCAA Division 1 Rifle competition, one at West Point and two earned athletic scholarships to shoot for Morehead State University. A fourth former team member, Sheila Craine will be a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Rifle team next year.
The King George team won a Crosman Challenger for their outstanding performance. Over the past year, 25 of the top 27 JROTC teams in the country are all winning with Challengers. Here are a few from the Nationals: