The Joshua High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps unit nailed it at the Texas All-Service Championship in Kerrville on Saturday.
Both the precision and sporter A teams took home top honors in their respective categories and will keep the Governor’s Cup on display throughout the year. The sporter B team earned second place overall.
Similar to the Stanley Cup, the Governor’s Cup travels with the school that wins, said NJROTC instructor Lt. Col. Davidson.
“We’re pleased as punch,” he said.
Three team members earned Distinguished Shooting Badges: James Slawson and Sheridan Beene came home with bronze and Louis Garcia earned silver, giving him a chance at gold by the end of the school year. To earn points for badges, shooters must rank near the top at eligible judged and electronically-scored competitions throughout high school.
Garcia, the sporter team captain, could be the first JHS student to earn a gold badge in about six years, Davidson said.
“It is a very, very prestigious badge,” he said.
Davidson said this year’s sporter and precision teams are solid, and likely the best he’s seen in a while. Seven freshmen competed on Saturday and the teams only lose two seniors at graduation.
One of those is Slawson, who said he was surprised he earned the bronze badge on Saturday.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “I wasn’t sure — I just wanted to win as a team. When we won, I felt great. I don’t like being second place because that means you could have done just a little bit better, you’re just below first place on the podium and it doesn’t look good.”
The team mentality is something that Davidson said pushes the students to win. No one wants to be the student who fell behind.
“They were in here at 6:30 this morning practicing, and they will be in here until 9,” he said on Wednesday. “Then I might see some of them again later this afternoon.”
Beene, a junior, is an honor student, in advanced placement classes and was recently named the Orienteering Team Captain. But being busy off the range doesn’t mean she can’t make time to practice.
“We’re still continuing our two hours a day, every day, five days a week, in the range,” she said.
The teams are practicing for their upcoming travel to Anniston, Ala., for the JROTC Air Rifle National Championship. Students not on the sporter A team have a shot at nationals through in-house competitions and being named an alternate.
“I want these kids to push each other and I have the latitude as the coach to pick the teams,” Davidson said. “Kids get injured, they lose eligibility, they fail English or whatever. I have to say all my kids are hanging in there really good with their grades.”
Andrew Marko, a freshman on the sporter B team, said he knew his team should place second if sporter A took first.
Though the event was more of a “learning experience” for sporter B students, Davidson said he couldn’t be more proud of the outcome.
“I was pretty sure that we had it to be honest,” Marko said. “He [Davidson] is pretty good at picking teams. If sporter A came in first, we pretty much had to come in second.”