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March 27, 2023

The Granbury High School MCJROTC Lady Pirate Rifle Team traveled to the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s Gary Anderson Competition Center in Camp Perry, Ohio for the 2023 JROTC National Championships for the opportunity to defend the fifth straight National Championship from past years and to clinch number six.

This journey started in October when more than 6,000 junior shooters participated in the 2022-23 Civilian Marksmanship Program Postal Competition, with the highest-scoring shooters in each branch qualifying for each individual branch’s JROTC National Service Championship last month. The top teams from each service then converged on Camp Perry to see who would claim the national title this past weekend. The match consisted of a 3×20 air rifle event fired twice in two days, featuring competitors firing 20 record shots from each of three positions (prone, standing, and kneeling) over the two-day contest.

Over the span of the two-day match, Granbury Team 1 consisting of Ashton Arlington, Caroline Martin, Sunnee Schumann, and Kameron Wells fired an overall score of 4,673 -300x to claim team gold and were crowned National Champions in the precision category.  Granbury is the only team in the history of the Civilian Marksmanship Program to achieve SIX National Championships.  

The second team consisting of Julia Czernik, Cadince McGrath, Kennedy Wells, and Viola Allen fired an overall score of 4,644 -274x to claim 4th place in the precision team category, missing the podium by only one point.

After the final qualification scores were released, Arlington, Schumann, and Martin qualified for the individual finals (top eight athletes). At the conclusion of a very exciting final event, Schumann placed 6th, Martin placed 4th, and Arlington claimed the runner-up position by taking home the silver, missing first place by only 0.1 of a point.

"I liked the way everyone battled through the match on day two since we struggled on day one," shared Lt. Col. Scott Casey, the Senior Marine Instructor and rifle team head coach, said.

"What is just as impressive is our second team placing 4th overall and the scores shot by the two youngest shooters on the squad, sophomore Kennedy Wells and freshman Viola Allen.  Allen has only been shooting since joining the team in September. Making the national team as a freshman is a huge accomplishment, " LtCol Casey continued.

"They are the future of the team, and I can't wait to see what they will do next year. Hands down, this is one of the most talented groups of young ladies in my 12 years of coaching - I knew we had a great group from top to bottom at the beginning of the year – and they proved that this weekend by bringing home the 6th consecutive National Championship."

"All team members have worked hard all season," John Becker, assistant coach, and Texas State CMP Director, said.

"I firmly believe they won the match before arriving by putting in the work necessary all season during before school and after-school practices starting the day after the last All Service Championship back in March!”

In addition, based on her performance over the two matches, Kameron Wells earned enough points during the matches to be presented her Junior Distinguished Marksman Badge. Also, Julia Czernik was presented her previously earned Distinguished Marksman Badge at the awards ceremony, since we were unable to attend the Service Championship in Alabama due to the Texas ice storm in February. 

The Junior Distinguished Marksman Badge is awarded to school-age junior three-position air rifle shooters who distinguish themselves by attaining a series of high rankings in designated major junior air rifle championships. They receive a serialized badge authorized by all branches to be worn on their cadet uniform. To date, there have been 1,687 badges awarded in the 20-plus-year-history of the program. (Granbury HS MCJROTC cadets have earned 20!). Past recipients have gone on to become collegiate rifle athletes, members of the US Army Marksmanship Unit and even a few Olympians.

Also, congratulations are in order to Cadet SgtMaj Koch for winning an Army National Scholarship. This achievement marks her as a TOP 10% candidate in our Nation. This accomplishment is based on her outstanding performance in the GHS JROTC Program and her exceptional potential for great achievement and responsibility.

The TSU Texan Battalion is thrilled to have her on their team, and tremendously appreciative for her selecting Tarleton State University as her gate towards excellence.

photo courtesy Granbury RIfle