MAGNA VISTA — The Carroll County JROTC Raider Team has placed third at the “4th Brigade Best of the Best” competition with two local cadets winning individual champion honors for the Physical Fitness Test.
Cadets Samuel Haynes and Sydney Haynes (who are twins) won top honors in individual physical fitness competitions. Samuel was the Male Individual Champion for the Physical Fitness Test (PT) and Sydney Haynes was the Female Individual Champion. The Team placed second overall in the Modified Army Physical Fitness Test (Carroll being the top team in Virginia for a three of the past four years.
“We have been doing this since freshman year,” said Samuel. (Both are now seniors.) He said this is the third time the two have competed in the best of the best competition. His sister estimated they have both done more than 15 competitions. The two said they both have finished first in the PT competition as individuals. Sydney has received top female athlete in other competitions.
She said this was her first time participating in the Best of the Best. Samuel noted he had top medal in this comp when he was in 10th grade. He said that win at the competition wasn’t announced in the top three because of a mix-up on the scoring where Sydney’s sit-up scores were accidentally switched with her brothers. The two said going into the Best of the Best the team felt it knew the drill and was relaxed going into the competition. Sydney said they began practicing a week before, crafting a strategy.
“The only thing that messed me up was being hot through the 5K. We have to wear pants and I really got overheated,” said Sydney. Samuel confided that he is not a big fan of carrying the Company’s flag during the 5K, which limits using arms to get up some of the hills in the 5K.
According to Carroll County Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) Senior Instructor Lt. Colonel John Carper, the 4th Brigade JROTC (Subordinate command within US Army Cadet Command), selected the top 20 teams to compete in its Best of the Best, Raider Team Championship.
It was held on April 22 at Magna Vista High School. The 4th Brigade is composed of 337 Schools covering six states (VA., DE., MD., W. Va., N.C., S.C.) and the Washington, D.C. Each schools team is composed of nine Cadets, with eight cadets competing in each of the five events. The first event was the modified Army Physical Fitness Test with two minutes of push-ups followed immediately by two minutes of sit-ups, followed shortly by a one mile run. The second event was a five kilometer team run. All eight members must cover the 5K or 3.1-mile course running together as a group.
According to Carper, events three, four and five are (in no particular order) the rope bridge, litter carry and logistic relay. The rope bridge event requires the team install, cross and uninstall a one-rope bridge between two poles over 50 feet apart. The litter carry requires the eight-person team to carry simulated casualty on a litter over a designated course with obstacles including hills, a six-foot wall and under a low obstacle. The Logistic Relay event requires the team to pull a HUMMV 50 meters, carry tires for 100 meters, carry 5=gallon water jugs and simulated ammo crate for 200 meters and carry a Cadet buddy for 50 meters.
Carper said the season began well with the team having enough to field two talented squads. He said as the season progressed, injuries took a toll, whittling the ranks at one point to nine who were healthy enough to compete.
‘It was good we had depth or we might not have been able to field a team,” said Carper. “We’ve never had a year like this with this many injured. The competitions are getting harder every year. Teams are running faster and the PT scores are getting better. We’re better, but everyone else is getting better.”
Nine Carroll students participated in the Best of the Best event. The team included Joshua M. Myers (team captain), James C. Leftwich, Dylon P. Leonard, Carson C. Piatt, Justin D. Leagan, Matthew D. Theut and Nicholas R. Hedrick.
“I like the team work in it,” Samuel said “It really is a team thing. Everyone on the team has messed up on something once or twice. Sometimes during the competition we come across as being mean to each other but at the end it’s like sorry, heat of the moment.”
One person makes a mistake and it messes up the whole thing.” The two said half of the team was composed of seniors this year with some underclassmen having experience in the Raider competitions.
“We always have a prayer before the raider competitions start,” said Sydney. “And we push each other in the 5K. We all get along really well. If someone does mess up we try and build them up. I feel like this year we planned a lot more. Our team that made it to nationals a couple of years ago, we kind of just went and did it but this year planning seemed to work for us as a team better. It’s still really cool because we are still friends with all the other Raider teams (and teammates) from previous years. It’s good for building friendships.”
She said the team made a replica for the logistics relay and the litter so they could practice. The two said they have benefited personally from JROTC, which doesn’t require cadets to join the military. They said JROTC has taught them discipline, respect for people and taught them about leadership.
“It’s actually taught me to speak out and talk to different people. I was very shy in ninth grade,” said Sydney. “I feel like I’ve overcome a lot of shyness from this class and I’ve learned a lot about leadership and also following a leader. It’s been a good thing. It’s taught us a lot about working with other people. Even people you don’t necessarily like.”
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.