Mariner High School JROTC are State Champions in Marksmanship

Mariner High School JROTC are State Champions in Marksmanship
Posted on 02/16/2023
Mariner High School JROTC are State Champions in Marksmanship

The Mariner High School JROTC Marksmanship team is the first team from Lee County to ever win the Florida JROTC State Championship. Cadet Nathan Krokstrom won the individual state championship for the second consecutive year.

"Our afterschool, co-curricular teams, such as Marksmanship, reinforce our top classroom priority - teach, coach and mentoring America's premier character education curriculum to young people,” said Major Brian Williams, JROTC Senior Army Instructor at Mariner High School. Coach Marybeth Williams adds, “Trophies and awards are the result of our cadets learning the most important lessons - teamwork, sacrifice, commitment and dedication result in a pathway to achieving your goals."

Twenty-eight teams competed in the JROTC Florida State Championship at Island Coast High School. Two other Mariner cadets finished behind Krokstrom in the Top 10. Eryka Vazquez came in 4th Place and Leelend Aldrich in 6th. Ida Baker High School finished 8th in the team competition.

In marksmanship competitions, JROTC Cadets use single load, small pellet air rifles. They shoot in a controlled environment down designated lanes at targets from three positions: prone, standing and kneeling. Cadets volunteer to join the team, practice after school and often compete.

"Marksmanship has taught me that sacrifice and commitment is required to succeed and achieve excellence at a high level,” said Cadet Tyler Dennard.

The soft skills Marksmanship student athletes learn translate into the classroom. In the past 12 months, the Mariner Marksmanship Cadets semester grades improved from a 2.8 to a 3.4 GPA. School attendance rates for the team is above 95% and none of the students have received a referral for disciplinary issues in the past year.

The Lee County Championships were held a day before the state meet. Nathan Krokstrom won his third county championship, while teammates Leeland Aldrich finished in 2nd place, Elyssa Vazquez in 3rd, Eryka Vazquez in 5th and Trent Olsen in 6th.

The Mariner Team is also the 2023 American Legion Florida State Champions. They placed 8th in the US Army Youth Air Rifle Championship and 10th at the Army JROTC National Championship. Several cadets have qualified for other national championship matches and the Junior Olympics. Two seniors, Team Commander Elena Cardenas-Cruz and Team Executive Officer Kahla Berry qualified for a Civilian Marksmanship Program scholarship due to their academic success and Marksmanship competition resume.