Zermeno, de Jesus win national titles at 2023 JROTC Air Rifle Championships

CAMP PERRY, Ohio – Danjela (Jordan) de Jesus, 17, of the Navy JROTC from Camden County High School in Georgia, is a national champion. At the 2023 JROTC National Three Position Championship, not only did she lead the precision air rifle class, but she finished a perfect run, posting the leading scores in all three phases of the competition series.

“I thought I would do well, but I didn’t give myself any expectations. I didn’t want to let myself down,” he said of Jesus about the match.

The JROTC National Sporter and Precision Air Rifle event for high school athletes was held March 23-25 ​​at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center in Ohio. Along with Nationals, the JROTC Championships also included a Postal Match along with Regional Service competitions, all facilitated by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

Dodging disappointment in September 2022, de Jesus was the overall precision contender in the Postal event after dropping just one point to reach an incredible score of 299-29X. He then shot the highest cadet score by an eight-point margin at the February Service Regional Championships with 1290-91X. With his performance, he took first place in the Navy competition by more than 20 points over second place individually.

She admitted that the two qualifying rounds of the JROTC Nationals (with prone, standing and kneeling positions for the record) didn’t go the way she wanted. Despite her struggles, de Jesús narrowly made it to the final final used to determine the overall winners, marking eighth and last place in the firing line.

“I just wanted to get to the final, I knew I could have a good final,” he said of his competitive strategy. “I went in like I had nothing to lose.”

She kept her cool on the line, replaying a song in her mind to help keep her concentration. It was enough to maintain her lead throughout the final, including on the last shot where she hit 10.5 to retain a 0.1 point lead over the second-place athlete, giving her the overall match victory. .

After the final, with a gold medal secured, de Jesús confessed her true feelings, saying with a laugh that she was “relieved. Sweaty. Tired.”

On the sporting side of the JROTC Nationals, senior athlete Samantha Zermeno, 18, of Nation Ford High School Marine Corps JROTC in South Carolina, earned the top of the podium after impressive performances at the JROTC Championships. Like de Jesus, Zermeno led the overall in the Service Championships (by more than 10 points over the closest competitor) as the best cadet in the Marine Corps.

“My whole team and I train for weeks for this, in the morning and in the afternoon. So all I could really do was the best I could, and that’s what I did! she said of the JROTC Championships.

Zermeno had earned the third-highest athlete score during the qualifying round, more than enough to earn him a place in the final. There, he consistently led and maintained a quiet confidence on the line, thanks to the advice of his trainer, Colonel Sean Mulcahy. Mulcahy, who watched his last JROTC Nationals in 2023, with plans to retire at the end of the season, has certainly made a lasting impression on his cadets.

“He taught me and my team something called ‘protective mental thinking,’ where all we tell ourselves down the line is, ‘We’re good shooters, forget the last shot, forget the future shot, focus on the shot. right here and right now. There is nothing you can do with the last shot, but there is something you can do with this shot. Just stay positive and keep telling yourself that you are a good shot. You’ve trained for this,’” Zermeno explained.

After sending his last pellet down, he positioned his monitor so he couldn’t see the score. Although he didn’t know what he had shot, he heard the screams of his teammates as they saw his recorded 9.3 shot to claim the final and, ultimately, the sporting title by a 1.5 margin.

“It was definitely exciting,” he said with a smile.

Next year, she plans to major in IT (information technology) and computer science, hoping to become a programmer. Though her marksmanship career may be over, she has many lasting memories to look back on and look back on with joy.

“I will treasure the years that I have spent here and in this sport,” he said. “I know it will take me throughout my life.”

Zermeno Ford’s Nation went on to top the sports team title for the fifth consecutive year at Nationals, with six total wins in the match. Team members included Zermeno, Kees Vandergriff, Lachlan Harris, and Abril DeCastro.

Also marking a repeat team victory for the sixth straight year was Marine Corps JROTC from Granbury High School of Texas. Team members were Ashton Arlington, Sunnee Schumann, Caroline Martin, and Kameron Wells.

Each team dominated within their classes, with Nation Ford leading by nearly 55 points and Granbury by nearly 20.

East Coweta High School Marine Corps JROTC in Georgia placed second in the precision equipment competition, while Camden County High School Navy JROTC placed third. Navy JROTC programs Zion Benton High School from Illinois and Pascagoula High School from Mississippi placed second and third, respectively, in the team sports event.

Behind Jesus in the precision singles match was Ashton Arlington, 18, of Granbury, in second, while Liv Lusky, 17, of Army JROTC from Lumpkin County High School in Georgia, came in second. third place. In sporter, Christopher Mardones, 18, of Patuxent High School Navy JROTC in Maryland placed second behind Zermeno, with Samuel Nason, 17, of Pascagoula in third.

View a complete list of results from the 2023 JROTC National Championship at https://ct.thecmp.org/2023JROTCNatResults. Match photos are available for free viewing and download at https://cmp1.zenfolio.com/f18494471.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearms safety and marksmanship training and the promotion of marksmanship competition for United States citizens. To learn more about the CMP and its programs, log on to www.TheCMP.org.