MMA Rifle Team Competes at 2023 Sectionals Championship in Camp Perry, Ohio

MMA Rifle Team Competes at 2023 Sectionals Championship in Camp Perry, Ohio

Two Missouri Military Academy rifle teams qualified for competition at the 2023 Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) 3PAR (3 Position Air Rifle) Sectionals Championship in Camp Perry, Ohio, February 9-11, 2023. Of all Army Camp Perry sporter teams competing in the 2023 sectionals, the Colonels A team ranked 6th of 20 teams when the competition concluded, and the Colonels B (rookie) team landed 16th overall. Of individual note, Cadet Marco Afane made it to the finals and finished 8th out of 104 Army sporter shooters.

“The sectionals competition was a great learning experience for our very young team. Of the 10 members, only two (Afane and Morais) had shot at this championship before,” said MMA Colonels rifle coach CPT Joe Balvanz.

Of the US Army teams competing, MMA ranked 25th overall of the 50 teams who had qualified for the sectionals championship. These teams represented the 50 best teams of all JROTC Brigades, from all 50 states and JROTC programs abroad, such as Germany.

The two Colonels teams competing in the 2023 sectionals included the following:

  • A Team: Cadets Marco Afane ’23 (team captain), Blake Morais ’23, Zijie Zhou ’24, Xiang Chen ’24, Raul Rosas ’25 (alternate) and Humberto Junquera ’28 (statistical officer).
  • B Team: Cadets Samuel Way ’24 (team captain), Brayden Phelps ’24, Ernesto De La Maza ’23, Eliseo Buch ’26, and John Trippe ’26.

Balvanz noted that, of those 10 qualifying cadets …

  • 3 are seniors.
  • 4 are juniors.
  • 1 is a sophomore.
  • 2 are freshmen.

Class of 2023 seniors who competed at the 2023 sectionals: Cadets Blake Morais, Marco Afane, and Ernesto De La Maza.

In addition to Cadet Afane’s top 10 finish, the following cadets also had the following notable finishes:

  • Xiang Chen, rookie, 26th
  • Samuel Way, veteran, 37th
  • Raul Rosa, rookie, 39th.

Cadet Afane competing in the finals. He finished 8th out of 104 Army sporter shooters.

The JROTC Webb City, Missouri, team won the championship. MMA had defeated them to attend the national championships last year, and Webb City showed substantially improvement from last year, according to Coach Balvanz. Webb City is currently ranked #1 in the Army, topping a heavily favored Ozark, Missouri, team.

“We took many lessons away this year, and as always, will incorporate those lessons to get better next year,” Coach Balvanz said. “Hope is in the air as we work on our young team towards continued success.”

The Colonels firers have qualified for sectionals for three consecutive years and ranked seventh in the nation last year after competing at the 2022 JROTC national championship competition.

More photos on Flickr. Thank you to Rick Dehlinger for photos.

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