Lt. Col. Dustin Elder photos

Webb City’s top shooters and their instructor are on top of the winners’ podium at the JROTC air rifle regional championships at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Cardinal cadets are national JROTC air rifle champions

Webb City’s Cardinal Battalion has won the U.S. Army JROTC Rifle National Service Championship and now has its sights on a competing against the top teams representing the three other JROTC branches.

“Wow… what a day!” wrote Lt. Col. Dustin Elder on Facebook Saturday after learning that his team had won not only the regional but also the national Army competition. “This crazy bunch of kids never ceases to amaze me with what they are capable of.”

Last week’s competition was at the Civilian Marksmanship Program Competition Center on Lake Erie in Camp Perry, Ohio. Although it was a regional competition, there were concurrent competitions taking place in the two other regions, in Alabama and Utah.


CMP photo

This overall view of the Civilian Marksmanship Program Competition Center was taken at a previous event.

The team of Preston Burton, Johnathon Tatum, Yaisa Walker, Gabe Elder and Aleena Arias took first place in the air rifle regionals.

Four of the five made it into the individual finals, a head-to-head shootout between top eight individual shooters. Elder pointed out that his team had four of the top eight shooters in the 25-state region.

Preston Burton finished on top, Johnathon Tatum was second, Yaisa Walker fourth and Gabe Elder sixth.

Elder also said he was proud that for the first time Cardinal Battalion had two teams qualify to compete among the top 50 Army JROTC teams in the nation.

Second team shooters were Katelyn Miller, Samuel Fisher, Avery Pennock, Blake Wininger and David Alm. They placed 19th.

“I could not be more proud of these cadets and all of their hard work,” said Elder.

They exceeded his expectations because he had only hoped they would place in the top seven nationally so they could qualify to advance to the JROTC Inter-Service National Championships.

Instead, they will be leading the top seven Army teams competing head-to-head with the top seven teams from the Marine, Navy and Air Force.

That competition will take place March 23-25.

Preston Burton and Johnathon Tatum compete in the finals.

Webb City Cardinal Battalion was represented by two rifle teams at regionals.