A total of 22 Marianas High School’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets competed at the recent 2022 U.S. Army National Raider Championships, which concluded back on Nov. 6, in Molena, Georgia.
The CNMI JROTC cadets went up against 2,300 students from schools across the nation during the three-day competition from Nov 3 to 6 at Gerald Lawhorn Boy Scout Camp.
In addition, MHS was the only school from the Pacific to compete in this year’s national competition, with a team trained and led by MHS JROTC instructor SFC Albert Lujan.
The CNMI’s students competed in various events, including a 4K Mountain Run, Rope Bridge, Gauntlet Challenge, and the Physical Team Test, which consisted of strength tests like wall climb, tire-drag, obstacle course, etc., distance team running, and rope bridge construction and crossing.
While MHS did not nab any trophies, their mixed team did place top seven in the rope bridge challenge.
According to MHS principal Jonathan Aguon, MHS’ participation in the event is historic. “Our participation in this event is history-making for MHS and for the CNMI Public School System. This is the first time that any CNMI PSS school has competed in this national competition, so we are very proud of our cadets for taking on the challenge to go up against schools who have been competing at this level for years,” he said. “This was a showcase of our Dolphin spirit of ‘Teamwork Towards Excellence’ as our MHS motto goes, and we hope to compete again in the future.”
Aguon also stated that the experience tested the students and overall pushes them to become better.
“In addition to competing and testing themselves against other high caliber teams, I am very grateful to provide the opportunity for our students to see firsthand beyond our shores and to promote the message that they are worthy to be among the best of the best,” Aguon added.
One of the competing cadets, Kevin Yang, a senior at MHS, stated that in addition to the nerves that came with competing, the students had to overcome the challenges of traveling with the jetlag and cold weather.
“This was our first time traveling this far and even off the island. For us islanders, we came from a hot and humid environment, so here, we’re wearing several layers of clothes, and we’re shaking and shivering,” he said.
“I think this is going to set a path for us. It’s so mind-blowing that we’re here,” stated competing student Abigail Alovera, an MHS junior.
Shaina Dimalanta, the MHS JROTC battalion commander, thanks her instructor, SFC Lujan, for his dedication and commitment to the students because during competition, it was one of the things she considered at times when she felt she couldn’t go on.
“We appreciate that he spent so much of his time training and motivating us because there were many times when it was difficult to push ourselves to continue with practice,” she said.