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Back-to-back champions: Blue Springs South JROTC Raider team wins national again

Back-to-back champions: Blue Springs South JROTC Raider team wins national again
Posted at 7:09 AM, Dec 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-10 20:19:10-05

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — It’s an accomplishment to win a national championship, but to do it twice, two years in a row? It is the cherry on top, as one Blue Springs South High School senior put it.

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In November, the BSSHS JROTC Raider Team competed at the national championships in Molena, Ga. The Raider national championship is comprised of a physical team test, a 4K mountain run, cross-country rescue, an obstacle course, and a rope bridge event.

Zach Koso and Anthony Lorek are two seniors who experienced both wins. They feel they’re leaving the corps with a stronger bond to cadets.

“I feel like at the end of the season we wanted to win national champions and I’m happy we did but my main goal was that the next group coming in and the group that are still here after me have the same work ethic that I wanted coming into the season,” said Koso.

“We do everything as a team. And I think that's just the best you could do,” said Lorek. “It feels like we're doing something great and we are, so it just feels like we're getting recognition for it,” said Lorek.

Both Lorek and Koso will pursue a military career after school, but it isn't a requirement of JROTC to enlist.

Col. Stan Cole started the Raider team eight years ago. He said it is something the school district and booster parents have supported. He understands you don’t get the same team every year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same goal.

“It was tough knowing that we have to start over again. It's like yeah, every time the Chiefs go to a new season, you're like, ‘Oh man, you got to start this all over again.’ I felt the same way. It was like here we go. We got to start from zero and make it all the way to the end again and they did a great job,” said Cole.

It takes a lot physically and mentally to be on the Raider team. That doesn’t fall lightly on the instructors’ shoulders as they push the cadets in and out of the classroom.

“For me, it's more than a mental state, right? It can get challenging. There are some days where you know, of course, they don't feel like running or, or you just can't get through it, you know, so it's about for me staying positive for them so they can stay positive and keep working hard,” said SMSgt. Jones.

Recently, the team was recognized at the Blue Springs City Council meeting.

Cole said there are about 115 cadets and a good portion are active in either Raiders or drill.