The Missouri Military Academy Rifle team has qualified to compete in the JROTC Service Championships for the second consecutive year. The rifle team received the official invitation following their strong showing in the national qualifier postal.
To receive an invitation to the championship, each JROTC team receives paper targets. Each team member fires 10 rounds at a target 10 meters away, the standard for rifle sport. They shoot from prone, standing, and kneeling positions, tallying a total of 30 rounds. Each target is individually marked for record. The best score possible is 300 (a fairly competitive score is 250).
Once each team submits their results, each is scored against all other Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force JROTC teams in the nation to determine who qualifies for the service championships.
According to MMA Rifle Team Coach and Senior Army Instructor Captain Joseph Balvanz, MMA’s rifle team has been preparing for — and focused on — the national qualifier postal since the beginning of the competitive season.
“A single poor shot may very well eliminate your chance of selection,” said Balvanz. “Coach Mike Shoemaker and I really try hard to turn the shooters’ nervousness into focus, shifting a negative emotion into a positive.”
Balvanz says several MMA shooters shot season highs for the national qualifier, responding exceptionally well to the demands of the competition.
Thanks to that strong performance, MMA qualified as a team, and MMA’s firers with the highest average scores on our team are selected to attend. The following cadets achieved that high ranking and will represent MMA for the service championship:
· Rene Garcia, a sophomore from Jimenez, Mexico
· Lance Newland, a sophomore from Portland, Oregon
· Landy Nguyen, a junior from Ardmore, Oklahoma
· Jared Douthit, a junior from Broomfield, Colorado
· William Baker, a senior from Flower Mound, Texas.
Three JROTC Service Championships will be held in 2020. Due to geographical location, MMA will shoot at Camp Perry, Ohio. More specific details about the event will be shared at a later date.
Service championship scores are shared in real-time online, thanks to the Civilian Marksmanship Program's digital lanes, and supporters may follow along at home by observing the team’s progress each day. The competition is also open to spectators and supporters who may attend in person.
The US Army JROTC Program provides funds for competitors’ food and lodging for the trip; MMA will provide the transportation to the competition.
“Our rifle team has demonstrated hard work and commitment to training, and their success brings pride to the entire Academy,” said Missouri Military Academy President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret). “Their most recent achievement of qualifying for the service championship fuels our drive to continue to improve our rifle program and support our cadets as they reach for higher and higher goals.”
MMA’s strategic plan calls for funding to support rifle range renovation and team equipment and transportation to accommodate growth in the corps and enable cadets to travel to more national and regional competitions, such as the Camp Perry JROTC Service Championship. For more information, click here.