JACKSON TWP — Discipline, dedication and patience.
According to JROTC cadet Nathan Adomaitis, those are the three qualities needed to succeed in marksmanship competitions.
All three were on display last spring for the team from Seneca Valley.
Senior Andrew Tate and three juniors — Josh Thompson, Katelynn Grochalski and Adomaitis — placed first in the state in the American Legion Junior Tournament.
Adomaitis was the top individual shooter in the state.
Each participating team shot at targets on their home range in March and the results were sent in to the American Legion. Winners were announced last month.
All eight of Seneca Valley’s shooters competed, with the top four counting toward the team’s total score.
“I was not told my exact score or our team’s score, just that we won,” said Adomaitis, who was a co-captain on the team. “Teams from all over the state competed and for us to come out on top, it’s phenomenal. We are the top-ranked team in Pennsylvania and I wouldn’t want to be shooting with anybody else.”
Each shooter fires an air rifle at a target 33 feet away. Individuals take a total of 30 shots, 10 each from standing, kneeling and prone positions.
“The target is 1¼ inches in diameter, but the bullseye is the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen. You hit that and it’s worth 10 points.”
Adomaitis, who joined JROTC as a freshman, said his average score in competitions last school year was between 245-250 out of 300.
“I have always enjoyed shooting, whether it be shooting at targets or hunting,” he said. “Being part of the marksmanship team teaches not only rifle safety, but also discipline. I’ve always wanted to go into the military (U.S. Army) and this helps prepare me for that.”
Seneca Valley had 83 total JROTC cadets last school year. Twelve began the year on the marksmanship team. That number dwindled as the year wore on.
“You have to maintain at least a C average in every class,” Adomaitis said. “If you get a D in a class, you are suspended for nine weeks. If you get an F, you’re off the team. You have to be dedicated.
“You have to be a student before you are a cadet and you are a cadet before you are a shooter.
Adomaitis’ involvement with JROTC is not just about hitting the mark.
“We do a lot of outreach activities, things like cleanups around the community and road cleanups,” he said. “We help out with the Zelienople 5K and serve as the Color Guard at different events.
“The purpose of JROTC is to motivate people to become better citizens.”