The National High School Physical Fitness Championships, hosted by The United States Marines Youth Foundation, is the culmination of countless days, hours and minutes of grueling preparation. The Sun Valley JROTC Fitness team recently returned from this year’s annual National High School Youth Physical Fitness Championships in San Diego. This is the eighth year that Sun Valley has sent their JROTC team to the National Championship. Both teams trained extremely hard for this year’s competition and proved this in their results. The girls’ team finished 1st in the nation for the second year in a row. The boys performed well, but missed placing this year.
The competition was the finale of a year’s worth of training. Under the watchful eye of Master Gunnery Sergeant Pearn, the Sun Valley JROTC students pushed their bodies to the limits. Pulling, pushing, bending, leaping and sprinting their way towards the highest standards in physical fitness to prepare for the competition.
“I am so proud of our girls’ team for earning the national title for the second year in a row,” stated Master Gunnery Sergeant Pearn. “After last year’s first place win, I knew we had a decent shot at winning the title again, but we would certainly have to work hard. The win shows the depth of our training. We work so hard throughout the year and push the students toward continuous improvement so that they are ready for this competition. Every year we face schools with student populations of more than 4,000 and for our students to stand out against these bigger programs is a testament to their dedication to the JROTC program at Sun Valley.”
Each member of the Sun Valley JROTC girls’ team contributed to their national achievement at this year’s competition. Stephanie Farnsworth showcased Sun Valley’s skills in the pull-up competition by completing 28 pull-ups in two minutes. Shelby Jackson led the way for the team, finishing 1st in the JROTC individual competition. Following close behind were Elaina Reynolds, who placed 2nd, and Cassie Morris, who placed 7th in the JROTC individual competition. Rounding out the team were Angela Sauter and Liz Luoma who scored their personal best.
The National Championship is a two day meet, held annually in San Diego. The competition included five events — Crunches, push-ups, standing long jump, pull-ups and 300-yard shuttle run. They're all timed, with a three-minute rest given between each event. The judges are Marines, who make sure everyone completes each event properly according to their specific protocol. Teams competing at the national level are determined by results from state competitions. High schools must compete and obtain a qualifying score at the state level in order to secure a spot at the National Championship.
For more than 200 years the United States Marine Corps has maintained that physical fitness is essential to its role as our country’s elite force in readiness. The standards established are time-tested and have kept Marines in good stead throughout their military careers and on into their civilian endeavors. The Sun Valley JROTC strives to emulate these standards on a daily basis and have proven that with strength and dedication they can achieve positive results.