MMA Cadet Noah Kaheaku Shines at Camp Perry JROTC Regionals, Securing a Spot at Nationals 

MMA Cadet Noah Kaheaku Shines at Camp Perry JROTC Regionals, Securing a Spot at Nationals 

At the Camp Perry JROTC Regionals competition, Cadet Noah Kaheaku, a high school sophomore from Walla Walla, Washington, individually placed second, earning him a spot to compete at the national level in March. 

In a competition against 17 other teams, MMA's team 1 finished fourth regionally and 18th nationally for Army teams, and MMA’s team 2 finished 11th regionally and 34th nationally for Army teams. Cadets were accompanied to regionals by CW4 Jason Landrum and CPT Joe Balvanz. 

Cadet Noah Kaheaku competes at the Camp Perry JROTC Regionals competition. 

Cadet Noah Kaheaku competes at the Camp Perry JROTC Regionals competition. 

“Going to regionals was a very interesting experience,” says Cadet Noah Kaheaku. “The sheer size of the range and the overall facility was massive. MMA has a rifle range with 12 lanes, while the range at Camp Perry had 80 lanes with bleachers for spectating the shooters, which added a layer of pressure.” 

Cadet Kaheaku says his experience on the rifle team this year has been outstanding. 

“Despite the team being a small group of people, it was a very tightly knit group,” he says. “Everyone was welcoming, and the coaches did an amazing job of helping fix corrections to improve performance.” 

The following cadets competed on team 1:

  • Cadet Noah Kaheaku ’26 
  • Cadet Khuslen Turmunkh ’25 
  • Cadet Brayden Phelps ’24 
  • Cadet Zijie Zhou ’24 

The following cadets competed on team 2:

  • Cadet Buyankhishig Batbold ’25 
  • Cadet Malachi Imrie ’25 
  • Cadet Khantushig Odbaatar ’24 
  • Cadet Tru Jones ’27 
  • Cadet Alternate: John Trippe ’26 
Cadet Noah Kaheaku is congratulated for his win at the Camp Perry JROTC Regionals competition. 

Cadet Noah Kaheaku is congratulated for his win at the Camp Perry JROTC Regionals competition. 

This season has been CW4 Landrum’s first year coaching the rifle team. He says he came into the program without expectations, prepared to learn as he goes. With the help of veteran team members, he was able to take his shooting knowledge and weave it into the needs of a competitive rifle team. 

“Throughout the season, I watched the team go through all phases of team building — forming, storming, norming and performing,” Landrum says. 

He says the forming stage was completed after tryouts, and then the team stayed in the storming phase for a while. They reached the norming phase the day before their first away match when the team came together in a matter of hours to teach their statistical officer, Cadet Sean Mumm, how to shoot so he could fill in for another cadet. 

Cadet Noah Kaheaku is awarded for his win at the Camp Perry JROTC Regionals competition. 

Cadet Noah Kaheaku stands on the podium at the Camp Perry JROTC Regionals competition. 

“Seeing the cadets come together to help a fellow member showed me they had officially become a team,” Landrum says. “As we settled into a rhythm, we started the performing stage, and the team began to work within itself to share knowledge, tactics and techniques for the team’s greater good.” 

Landrum says that practices vary. Sometimes the team might work on a specific position, such as kneeling, standing or prone. Another time, they might work on time management by doing a mock match. 

“We spent a lot of time working on the standing position because the best advice that a previous coach gave me was, ‘You win competitions in standing,’” he says. “This saying proved true when we reached the regional final because it is all standing. Because of Kaheaku’s standing skills, he started in seventh place and reached second place by the end of the finals.”

As he prepares for the national competition, Cadet Kaheaku advises other cadets who are interested in the rifle team not to get caught up in their shooting scores. 

“Just focus on doing your best and ensuring you take all the necessary steps for a good shot and repeat that same process over and over,” he says.

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