The GMC Prep Raider team seeks to defend its territory | New
The GMC Prep Raider teams have been on a roll this year, and they look to continue their home run this weekend.
They will host men’s, women’s and co-ed teams from across the state, and even one from out of state, to campus on Saturday for a Raider meet on their home turf. Competition is expected to start at 9 a.m. with the team race, and from there teams will go through various events before finishing with the glove.
GMC Prep Raider Head Coach and JROTC Instructor Major Todd Van Dine said his teams were happy to be able to compete on the course they trained on every day, but there was also a added pressure to play in front of family and friends.
“It’s definitely a little more pressure because they want to do well in front of their home crowd,” Van Dine said. “They are all excited because they can compete at home and show everyone what they can do.”
The Raider competitions are the JROTC’s equivalent of the ROTC Army Ranger competition held at the college level. They test the strength and endurance of cadets through a variety of events that take place over a five to six hour period. Saturday’s competition begins with the team race, a 2.2 mile hike where all 10 members of each team must cross the finish line. The most spectator-friendly part of the day is expected to start around 10 a.m. as teams navigate the obstacle course, monkey bridge and rescue events across the country. Finally, it’s the glove, which is exactly what it looks like. Cadets sprint a course with heavy pitchers and overturned tires along the way.
The military component of GMC Prep makes the school a good choice for Raider competitions, and the various teams, especially mixed, have produced strong results. The mixed team is the reigning two-time state champion and won a third place finish at the national championships last fall. That momentum has continued this season as the mixed team has taken first place overall in each of the first three games they have appeared in in recent weeks.
“The mixed team is exactly where it needs to be,” said Van Dine. “They have won the last three competitions, but there are still areas where they need to improve. They know their weaknesses, so they are not overconfident.
Competition will be slightly intensified this weekend as GMC Prep faces a schedule it normally doesn’t see before the national championships.
“This weekend will be a real test,” added the GMC Prep Raider coach. “We’ll see how successful they are because there is a school from Sarasota, Florida that is generally pretty good. We only saw them at nationals, but we will have the chance to see them here. This will give them azimuth control over where they really are.
The GMC men’s team finished second in each of the first three meetings with the same team, Riverside Military Academy, standing in its way each time.
“They are the Alabama of the Raiders,” Van Dine said of Riverside. “This is the dynasty that we are looking for, but with each meeting we have closed the gap. We continue to improve and we are where we need to be to reach the top of the state.
Riverside will not be attending Saturday’s competition, so the GMC men’s team can face off against another competition.
Teams are awarded points that correspond to where they finish in each event, and the team with the lowest score at the end of the day is crowned the competition champion for their division. The weather may be a problem for Saturday’s event with a risk of rain and thunderstorms currently in the forecast, but as long as there is no lightning in the area, anything will be possible without the course. ‘obstacles.
“It makes it more interesting,” Van Dine said of the possibility of bad weather. “The only thing that would affect is the obstacle course. We don’t want kids to slide obstacles and hurt themselves, but they would love to run in the rain as it would refresh them.
This year’s State Raider competition is exactly one month away with national championships slated for next weekend.