Marion High School JROTC cadets Thomas Schenck, Austen Robbins, and Josiah Hamilton encourage Audrey Dickerson to sprint her final section of the biathlon hosted at MHS on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Dickerson teamed with Adriana Aleman (not pictured) to win the female category during the annual competition against 13 other teams.

The Marion High School JROTC Program again earns top finishes.  This team in the Marion Community Schools hosted their spring biathlon last weekend with fourteen teams competing in this running and marksmanship event. The Marion teams earned multiple first-place finishes and produced the meet’s fastest female competitors.

The two-person teams competed in their respective categories as male, coed, or female teams. Cadets ran 1,000 meters and then were required to take five shots with an air rifle at a target 10 meters away. For every missed shot, the cadets had to run a penalty lap of approximately 150 meters. The cadets completed this cycle three times. After the last shooting portion, the cadets ran one final 1,000-meter lap. The individual cadets’ times were combined with their team member into one team time. The fastest overall time won.

Marion’s female team of senior Adriana Aleman and junior Audrey Dickerson earned the top placement, with a combined time of 62:13. The Marion coed team of junior Hailey Teeguarden and sophomore Tayler Garriott claimed the top finish in their category.

Aleman easily earned the title of fastest female competitor by beating all other female cadets by more than two minutes with a blistering speed of 28:10.

“It was exciting to win in my last competition as a Giant,” Aleman said. “It has been a great four years to be a cadet and compete in all the different kinds of events.”

The Giants also earned two third-place finishes in the male and coed categories as senior Austen Robbins and junior DJ Smith teamed up in the male category, and freshman Jessica Pickell and sophomore Josiah Hamilton competed in the coed category.

“These cadets are amazing” said retired Lt. Col. David Farlow, MHS’s senior Army instructor. “Biathlons are very difficult. Cadets must balance running speed versus being able to maintain steady breathing for accurate shooting. The cadets’ lungs were on fire and their hearts were pounding, all of which makes it difficult to shoot straight and hit the target. But each missed shot brings the penalty of more running.”

Competing in her first-ever biathlon, Dickerson commented: “It was fun. But the shooting part was really hard. I was nervous each time I shot because I really didn’t want any penalties. They are awful.”

This post and accompanying photo are thanks to a collaboration with Patricia Gibson, Director of Communications, Marion Community Schools.

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