JROTC Compete to Win in Raider Cup

Starting at 6:30 am. Master Sgt. Thomas Shelley and Master Sgt. Dylan Youngblood push the Dimond Army JROTC cadets to their limits every morning with vigorous workouts such as the pacer test and the challenging 1 mile run.

Raider Cup is the first physical fitness event of the year with the upcoming competition on Sep. 18 and 19.

With 40 boys and 28 girls competing this year, training early is part of the plan to hold their title as champions for eight years straight.

Senior Army JROTC Instructor, Master Sgt. Shelley said, “Because we have so many cadets competing this year, we find it hard to pick the best for each event. Each and every one of these kids have the heart a soul to become part of the team so us instructors don’t really choose. We make them choose.”

Just like Dimond High sports teams, Dimond JROTC separates their physical fitness teams into Varsity, Junior Varsity and C teams. But instead of calling them by their original names, JROTC teams go by gold, Varsity; maroon, Junior Varsity; and grey, C team.

Senior Henry Downey said, “I’ve done Raider Cup for three years straight. My first year I made it onto maroon but I’ve been on gold ever since then. I do Raider Cup to win.”

Dimond High School is a very competitive school.  The Dimond JROTC goes up against all schools in the Anchorage School District except for West High School. Colony High School and Wasilla High School also compete.

Senior Brandon Thomas said, “Raider Cup is the only team associated sport we have in JROTC. This physical fitness event is more team bound than individual.”

The whole competition takes two days with 10 events to complete. Events go from the Davey Jones Relay, which includes swimming; the famous mile run; the Pacer Test; the Tarzan which includes high beams and monkey bars; and the tug-o-war, etc.

Senior Meghan Lindbeck said, “Out of all the events I would have to say that the tug-o-war is the most difficult for me because I have a very weak body structure.”

Most cadets on the Dimond JROTC Raider Cup team explained to me that not all events are easy to go through. Some students may be strong swimmers and some weak swimmers, some have a strong upper body and some have a weak upper body.

Sophomore Sydney Sears said, “Out of all the events I would say that I’m really good at the Pacer Test. But the weird thing is, this event is very difficult for me. It’s a constant stop and go.”

Because Raider Cup is the first physical fitness competition, the pressure on the cadets and the instructors starts off very low but increases as the season ends.

Army JROTC Instructor Youngblood said, “Although us instructors make the cadets fight their way to the top as individuals, at the end of the day we become champions as a team. I built this competition from nothing into a trophy that we’ve won for seven years straight now. Becoming champions is knowing your limits and knowing how to break them. But most importantly, the dedication the cadets and us instructors have for the team.”

Following up with the Dimond JROTC Raider Cup teams, the competition held at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Sept. 18 and 19 was a success.

Dimond Army JROTC takes home the trophy once again with their eighth year of being champions.