BATTLE GROUND — Cadets from the Air Force Junior Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs at Battle Ground and Prairie high schools received high honors recently at the JROTC Western Regional Air Rifle Championships in Las Vegas, including top prizes for two individual students.
More than 290 cadets from seven states representing all service branches gathered at the Cashman Center for the three-day event held Feb. 9-11.
When all the shots were fired and the scores tallied, cadets Kaci McCreary, a senior at Prairie High School, and Taylor Harpe, a sophomore at Battle Ground High School, captured first and second place, respectively, in the Air Force JROTC Precision rifle class. Their efforts qualified them for the All-Service National Championships to be held in Anniston, Ala., in March. The pair are the only two cadets to qualify individually from among the nearly 900 Air Force JROTC units in the nation.
McCrary began shooting with JROTC as a freshman. As a sophomore, she competed in the Civilian Marksmanship Program national competition in Utah. Last December, USA Shooting invited her to compete at the Olympic Training Center for the Winter Open Air Gun competition. She is now ranked as the number three shooter in the nation for Air Force JROTC. Kaci will graduate in June and is pursuing a career in international business management.
Harpe is a sophomore who began shooting competitively in Air Force JROTC last year and quickly surfaced as a natural in the sport. A member of the 2016 BGHS team that went to the Western Regionals in Utah, Harpe is now ranked as the number four shooter in the nation for Air Force JROTC. Taylor is actively pursuing academic excellence through Advanced Placement (AP) courses and aspires to attend a service academy after he graduates.
Marksmanship is a co-curriculum activity in the Air Force JROTC portfolio, and each school hosts teams in the Sporter Class and Precision Class. The sport requires the shooter to fire at targets 10 meters away from three different positions: prone, standing (off-hand), and kneeling. While a perfect score over the course of the three target sets is 600, thousands of practice shots are fired in preparation leading up to the competition.
Note: This article was written by Battle Ground High School student and AFJROTC public affairs cadet C/T Sgt. Sandra Fachiol.