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Kofa JROTC Rifle team takes third place, JLAB team to compete at nationals

The Kofa High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) Rifle team took third place out of 10 teams at the Arizona JROTC State Rifle Meet on April 24, 2021 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.

The Kofa team, comprised of Cadets Corina Castillo, Vicente Kraft, Dylan De Guzman, and Hannah Daniels, won third place out of 10 teams, while Castillo finished seventh, Kraft finished ninth, Daniels 14th, and De Guzman 20th overall out of 40 shooters.

“Our mindset was the team is young and we will take this in-person opportunity as a learning experience for next year,” KHS MCJROTC instructor Maj Todd Birney said. “However, the first-year shooters were strong and competitive and responded very well to the pressure, bringing home a third place win.”

This competition was the first time the cadets were able to shoot shoulder to shoulder against other teams, due to COVID-19 restrictions throughout much of the school year.

Additionally, the JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl (JLAB) Academic Team succeeded in making it to Level 2 and 3 for this year's competition. The team competed against all Division 1 schools, which consisted of 26 schools, and finished in the top 8 to advance to Level 3 and compete in Washington, D.C. June 18-22 at Catholic University of America. The JLAB Academic Team consists of Kraft, De Guzman, James Kleinwachter, Brandon Fernandez, and Tanner Garner.

Kofa’s MCJROTC program is led by Maj Birney and Sgt Maj Colen Laarman. Under their guidance the program has grown to include more than 135 cadets, and regularly competes on a national level. For the past two school years, they have been designated a prestigious Naval Honors School.

Ian Coltman