The student media site of Blue Springs South High School

The student media site of Blue Springs South High School

The student media site of Blue Springs South High School


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South’s JROTC Raiders team defends the Raiders championship title

Stan Cole
South cadets in the Raiders team undergo an obstacle course. This year, the South Raiders team win the Air Force National Championship in the male division.

The Jag

The bus slowly lurches to a stop. You have been up since two a.m. competing physically and mentally. Slowly you get up, pull off your heavy gear, and look forward to a day a sleeping. You just came back from a JROTC Raiders meet.

In a Raiders meet, one is expected to complete intellectual tasks such as map reading and problem-solving as well as physical task such as completing a PT test (one minute of push-ups, one minute of sit-ups and a timed 1.5-mile run), crossing a one-rope bridge, running a 5k, flipping tractor tires, as well as many others.

The Raiders team is an optional part of JROTC where members are put through a series of physical tasks and mental tasks while competing with other schools. Last year South won the Air Force National Championship in the mixed division (male and female). This year, South defended that title by winning the Air Force National Championship in the male division.

This is a picture of South’s JROTC Raiders team at the Raiders Nationals. This year, South has defended the Air Force Championship title.

“That was a goal going into the beginning of the year was to repeat as Air Force champions … so there was kind of a competition within a competition,” says Col. Stan Cole, a JROTC instructor and Raiders team coach.

“It’s overwhelming,” says senior Zach Koso, commander of the Raiders team. “Because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and just being able to do it in the way we did and how we did it is just great. Winning back-to-back national championship is something not many teams can do. So, it’s just, it’s great. Being able to say we did it. It is just an honor and a privilege that I was able to lead the team to do that.”

“I was excited, the kids were excited too,” says Senior Master Sargent Courtney Jones, JROTC instructor and Raiders coach. “It was close. It was really close; it came down to seconds for some. I was really excited and kind of surprised because there was a lot of good competition out there this year.”

Senior Lexi Mattson is also thrilled to win the Raiders title.

“I was very, very excited. I knew we were going to place something. We’ve been working our butts off for the past months and months and months and summer. So, I knew we were going to place something. It’s just it was kind of like, what are we going to place?” says Mattson.

Cole and Jones both know that there are a few things needed to win a Raiders meet.

“They need to be physically fit, and they need to be really dedicated to work hard from the summer through November,” says Cole. “They really need to be dedicated to put in a good three or four months work of good training and then after that just takes a lot of teamwork. Because none of these events are individual events, everything is a team event.”

Sgt. Jones agrees with dedication, but also says that one needs “a lot of hard work and consistency.”

Mattson also thinks that the mental aspect of Raiders is important as well.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t talk about the mental part of it. It’s physically a lot, like physically challenging, but also mentally challenging.” says Mattson.

However, both instructors love to watch their team grow and find themselves in the Raiders team.

South cadets in the Raiders team undergo an obstacle course. This year, the South Raiders team win the Air Force National Championship in the male division. (Stan Cole )

“It is amazing to see these kids when they come in, and like our smallest kids, that are freshmen, not even 100 pounds and it just to see them go from not being able to run a mile to you know, we’re running five K’s and we’re running four miles at practice and, and see them grow and their confidence grow in themselves, that’s a really good part too,” says Jones.

Koso finds that same gratification as well.

“There’s a lot of things that I can say are my favorite. But I think the team building and how everybody grows on the team. Winning is fun and winning is part of it. But just being able to go out there and help each other and build and grow mentally, physically, in the leadership ability of everybody on the team is just great to see. And probably my favorite part is being able to help everybody succeed and feel like they have succeeded throughout the season,” says Koso.

Mattson is thankful to be a part of the Raiders team.

“[I’m] just very grateful for this team,” says Mattson. “They have been my family for the past three years. They have made me a better person and impacted me completely in all aspects of my life. And I’m thankful for all of them. The good and the bad. Of course, you know families have fights and stuff. Other than that, everything. I’m glad we ended the season on a good note. It made it worth it.”

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