WARSAW — For all the students at Warsaw Community HS, this last Saturday was a designated an “eLearning Day.” Many students might have even enjoyed the coziness of their beds that cold morning. However, for 13 Cadets in the HS’s Army JROTC, it was a long day that started at 6 a.m. and ended when Cadets returned to Warsaw at 5:30 p.m. When these students are not busy as Cadets, they are also Track and Cross Country runners, cheerleaders and soccer, tennis and football players.
Fourteen JROTC programs fielded 16 teams, and they represented the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the Air Force. These teams assembled at Marion HS on that cold and windy day to compete against each other. The JROTC teams from the Army are named “Raider Teams.” The honor of being called a “Raider” was not lost on Warsaw’s Cadets though. They were reminded about the honor and meaning of the title “Raider” by their instructor MAJ Friedrich Josellis. He noted the 75th anniversary by Doolittle’s daring Raiders in World War II had just passed that week.
For all of the assembled Army Raider Teams and the other JROTC programs’ competitive teams, Saturday would be a day of physical and mental challenges made more difficult by the colder and windy weather.
This was Warsaw’s Cadet Grayson Drudge, first time out as a Raider Team Captain. Cadet Drudge is a first year Cadet, and he worked hard to improve the physical conditioning of his team’s members. However, conditioning wasn’t enough. Cadet Drudge leaned heavily on the technical knowledge and expertise of another Raider member, Cadet Emily Puckett to know how to practice these events.
The result of their unselfish blending of their strengths made this the most successful Warsaw Raider Team competition since 2014. Warsaw finished sixth out of the 16 teams and received two third place trophies, one for the Gauntlet Circuit Coarse and the other for the Rope Bridge.
Cadet Puckett said “When they announced that Warsaw placed 3rd place in the Rope Bridge, it took everything to not scream and holler. The motto on our shirt read ‘Can you knot?’ and now everybody knows we can!”
MAJ Josellis was proud of the team’s outing and noted “It’s a young team. They had fun and they got real sore. Numerous judges complimented our teams’ communications, spirit, and teamwork. I had fun just watching them.”
Cadet Drudge was humble-but-yet-bold when he summed up the experience by saying “We’re planning on toppling the best Raider Teams when we compete again in fall. We know what we have to do to get to that next level, and now we have to do it.”