NJROTC rivals to battle at air rifle championship
Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets from two rival Illinois high schools participated in the NJROTC Air Rifle Championship Feb. 21-23 in Anniston, Ala.
More than 70 miles separate Zion-Benton High School and East Aurora High School, who compete against each other multiple times throughout the year.
The three-day event marked the second stage of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), which hosted the annual competition for the 197 cadets who qualified from a field of 3,075. The qualifying cadets participated in the NJROTC postal competition held last fall, where cadets fire at their targets then mail in their results to be scored.
“It is going to be a great competition with the possibility of each of us making the podium,” said retired MMCM Dan Hackstein, NJROTC instructor and air rifle coach for Zion-Benton. “Competition brings out the best in both of us. They have been getting better and better, nipping at our heels and making me want to work harder as well as making the cadets want to work harder.”
“There is no more Zion-Benton looking at us in the rearview mirror, we are now side by side and everyone needs to show up and shoot their best to win,” said retired DTC Greg Fayfar, NJROTC instructor and air rifle coach for East Aurora. “We had a program milestone this year qualifying two teams for the championship and I owe a lot to Zion-Benton for their guidance throughout the years.”
In 2003, the NJROTC program hosted its first shoulder-to-shoulder championship and has each year since. Two divisions of competitors, sporter and precision, vie for gold, silver and bronze medals. Sporter-class target air rifles are designed for junior competitors and are characterized by their light weight, low cost and outstanding accuracy for basic marksmanship training. Precision-class target air rifles are higher in cost and require additional specialized clothing to be worn by the competitor.
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