Rifle Team members celebrate competing in the Area 5 Championship, and thank the Izaak Walton League for inviting them to shoot the match at its new facility.
Photos by Robert R. Maxwell
After six months dedicated to practice, perfection, and intense competition, the Herndon High Navy JROTC Rifle Team celebrated their best season ever. Highlights include new school records and award of the Fairfax County JROTC Rifle Spicer Cup as well as a third place finish in the Area 5 Championship, which includes more than twenty teams from Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
Over the past four years, the Rifle Team has broken record after record, and this year was no exception. The team broke every team record in existence, and it also had a novice shooter, Cadet Erin Maxwell, who set two new individual rookie records.
Record breaking has grown with the team’s popularity. Each year approximately twenty-five cadets undergo safety and other instruction necessary to compete for a position in the top sixteen. These top sixteen team members regularly practice so that they can vie for a competition spot in the top nine, who must consistently demonstrate the reliable, accurate marksmanship required to compete. To make things even more interesting, as the season continues, rankings change as the top sixteen members continue to acquire new personal best scores and higher averages. This year’s final top nine were Rifle Team Cadet Commanding Officer Allison Maxwell (2016), Cadet Clayton Newcomb (2016), Rifle Team Cadet Executive Officer Danny Jones (2017), Cadet Raphael Del Rosario (2018), Cadet Sarah Ettestead (2018), Cadet Leo Sucre (2018), Cadet Erin Maxwell (2019), Cadet Claude-Alexander McVicker (2019), and Cadet Moran Qiu (2019).
“I think we accomplished so much this year because every team member set and exceeded personal goals,” shared Cadet Maxwell. “While air rifle requires practice, patience, and resilience, anyone with a real interest can be successful. None of our team members, including myself, had ever shot competitive air rifle until enrolling in Herndon High’s Navy JROTC. The Unit gave us all a great opportunity to learn an NCAA sport.”
In addition to establishing new personal best scores and multiple team records, the Rifle Team once again won the Spicer Cup. Formed in 2003, the Fairfax County-wide JROTC Rifle League named the award after the league's founder, the late LTC Joe Spicer, USA (ret), from Hayfield High School. The tournament included six high schools – Edison (Army), Hayfield (Army), Herndon (Navy), Mount Vernon (Marines), South Lakes (Army), and West Potomac (Army).
Most impressive, however, was the Rifle Team’s third place finish in the Navy JROTC Area 5 Championship, which is the highest the team has ever placed among the many highly competitive teams in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Herndon High’s Navy JROTC is for anyone interested in real leadership experiences, teamwork, and/or high-level competition. There is no military commitment. To learn more about this program, contact David Adler, Captain, USN (ret) at (703) 755-5710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.