Following the 2022 JROTC National Championship competition, the MMA Colonels Rifle team ranks seventh nationally among all Army JROTC programs across the nation. A total of 2,178 JROTC cadets from across the United States, Europe, and the Pacific competed for the national title March 17-19 in Camp Perry, Ohio.
Cadets Marco Afane, Rene Garcia Garza, Lance Newland, Blake Morais, and Ethan Zinzer earned the honor to represent the 2022 Colonels Rifle team at nationals after qualifying at sectionals in April. The team is coached by Mike Shoemaker and CPT Joe Balvanz.
“It was a hard fight against the nation's top teams representing all branches of service,” said Balvanz. “Coach Shoemaker and I are very proud of the team's resilience and performance."
Balvanz noted that Cadets Garcia and Newland faced particular adversity when malfunctions of their issued rifles forced them to change out rifles quickly during their shooting window.
“They both grabbed the bull by the horns and immediately put the other rifles into action, increasing their output. This was a pivotal moment to react to and they did so with grace and resilience,” Balvanz said.
Final national standings for the individual firers on the Colonels team are as follows:
- Cadet Ethan Zinser finished 16th with a 1070
- Cadet Lance Newland finished 22nd with a 1056
- Cadet Marco Afane finished 31st with a 1024
- Cadet Rene Garcia finished 32nd with a 1023.
Team photo by Jessica Ekern. Competition photos taken at nationals by Cadet Marco Afane.