Denver JROTC students from across the district recently competed in a grueling competition— the annual Raider Challenge at the University of Wyoming—overcoming frigid conditions and exhausting events. The competition is one of the largest in the region, and DPS sent more than 70 cadets to compete. Held on a college campus, the event gives students the opportunity to explore the college.
“Raider teams focus on the physical fitness aspect of JROTC,” said Lt. Col Steve Osterholzer, the Director of Army Instruction for Denver JROTC. “This competition is particularly great; it not only is really challenging but it also exposes cadets to senior ROTC program opportunities in college and campus life.”
Typically consisting of six cadets, Raider teams compete in strenuous events such as five-kilometer runs, truck pulls, obstacle courses and medical litter races. They also compete in leader reaction courses that test teamwork, communication and critical thinking.
The cadets learned valuable lessons about themselves. “Keep pushing and never fail because you can easily fall,” said Jesus Gonzalez, a sophomore at Manual High School.
Added Manual High School junior Cesar Chavez: “Show the hardship it is wrong. Never give up on what you think you can achieve, never give up and always push.”
Eleven DPS teams made the trip to UW to compete in a competition run entirely by cadets from the school’s Senior ROTC program. Cadets competed in a one-mile rucksack race, obstacle course, run dodge jump, leader reaction course, drill and ceremony, and a physical fitness test. Several DPS teams took home trophies, led by Abraham Lincoln High School that took second place overall.
“Competing in Raider arms a student with skills they’ll need all their lives, regardless if they join the military or not,” Osterholzer said. “Self-discipline, physical fitness and teamwork are all important. Cadets become really close, truly becoming a band of brothers and sisters.”
Participation in JROTC is linked to success factors both in high school and after graduation. For more information on the Denver JROTC Program please visit DenverJROTC@dpsk12.org.