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Statesboro High JROTC earns state titles in two events
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The Statesboro High School JROTC Raider team, shown above, recently competed in the State Championship help Oct. 30 in Griffin.

By VICTORIA SHEPPARD

Special to the Herald


On Oct. 16, the Statesboro High School JROTC Raider team swept the Area 9 Region Championship meet by placing first or second in all 15 events, including 11 Region titles and four runner-up placements.

The performance qualified the team to participate in the first State Championship since the COVID-19 pandemic, which was held at Spalding High School in Griffin, on Oct. 30.

To prepare for the championship, the SHS team had one week to refocus and make changes to perfect their events. The team knew they would ace the toughest teams in the state – Georgia Military College Prep School, Riverside Military Academy and the Cadets from Benedictine – to have a chance to win another state championship.

The Blue Devils squad started practicing in early July, working towards everyone's goal of winning a state championship. Running three miles in the summer heat and then moving onto work in the other events like the Raider Fitness Test, the Cross Country Rescue obstacle course, the Tire Flip and the One Rope Bridge river crossing.

The tough training helped the Statesboro cadets learn how to be physically and mentally tough.

JROTC head coach, First Sergeant Lonnie Roberts, once told the team: “Pain is just weakness leaving the body.” Many team members repeat the team’s motto, “Dig Deep,” to themselves during trying times. 

The morning of the state championship began at 5 a.m., with the cadets eating a light breakfast and mentally preparing for the long, cold day they were about to face. The team arrived at Spaulding High School at 6 a.m. and began warming up for the first event: the 3-mile team run. It would be the first time the team faced the hills of the tough course, coupled with a cold weather front that passed through.

Following the grueling run, the team quickly moved to the Raider Fitness Course, Rope Bridge, Tire Flip and, finally, the Cross Country course.

After a long day of competing the time came for the awards ceremony where team members learned that all of the blood sweat and tears paid off. The Statesboro Blue Devils had won two state championships and placed third in another event.

The mixed team won Rope Bridge and the girls’ squad won the Tire Flip competition for the fifth time in a row.

“It felt so unreal to get to go back to state and come home champions again,” said 11th-grader Chase Hinson. “I was tired but really proud that all of the hard work paid off for us.”

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