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JROTC conquering obstacles
JROTC - rope.jpg
Olivia Chmielewski, who graduated from WCHS in May, shows she still has the strength to make her way up the rope climb. She will participate in the ROTC program at UT-Knoxville with the goal of becoming a combat surgeon.

Warren County students who like to scale walls, climb ropes and lift heavy tires should consider the JROTC’s Raider Team.

Raiders were hard at work Wednesday on the high school’s obstacle course, learning the ropes literally and figuratively. Recent graduate Olivia Chmielewski showed she can still climb a rope with ease, and WCHS senior Nathan Jennings demonstrated he can make his way over the reverse climb obstacle without difficulty.

Last week marked the second full week of training for the Raider team. Jennings said the emphasis was on getting new cadets acclimated with all the obstacles and how to best navigate them. Thursday featured a tortuous run up – and then down – Harrison Ferry Mountain.

“It’s a whole lot of running in the sun, but I love it,” said Johnathan Bond.

One exhausting drill cadets were doing involved lifting a heavy tire over a pole and then carrying it over to another pole. There were 10 poles in all. The drill involved leg strength to lift the tire off the ground and then upper body strength to get it over the top of the pole.

“You really start to feel it on that 10th pole,” said WCHS senior Thomas Turpin, who admitted he has already seen improvement in just two weeks. “I think I’m starting to get in better shape and it’s not just me. It’s everybody.”

First Sgt. Tim Howard (retired) says this is the 12th year JROTC students have taken part in summer conditioning. The team has been competitive at Raider meets in recent years and he believes the WCHS boys team will be strong this year. He added Warren County will have an all-girls Raider team for the first time in a decade.

The first meet is set for Saturday, Aug. 28 at Clarkrange. First Sgt. Howard said that will be a busy day for JROTC cadets because the ones who don’t travel to Clarkrange will stay in McMinnville to help with the annual city triathlon.