Ozark Raiders Make History at the National Raider Championship

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Photo used with permission by Shealynn Fuller

Ozark Raiders place 1st in the National Championship at Molena, Georgia.

Emma Burton, Writer

National Champions is a title that not many get to wear. However, the OHS Raider team made winning look easy through hard work & determination at the National Raider Championship in Molena, Georgia.

Entering in both the male and mixed (coed) categories, Ozark competed in 5 different events. These include the 5K Mountain Run, Rope Bridge, Gauntlet (rucksack with obstacles), Cross Country Litter Rescue, and the Physical Team Test.

With an average of 2 practices per day, the Raiders put in countless hours of training to prepare for their biggest event of the year.

“Teams across the country come to nationals to compete for the championship every year, it’s always the most anticipated Raider meet of the season,” said Senior Dylan Fritz.
The Raider National Championship was a 5-day trip for Ozark, beginning with an overnight drive from Missouri to Georgia.

“After the drive, we spent the entire day Thursday scouting out the courses, seeing the muddy conditions, and obstacles we would have to overcome. We also used our time to strategize for each of the 5 different events,” said Fritz.
Fritz competed on the Mixed team and is more than pleased with the results. Placing 1st overall, the Mixed team took home the National Champions trophy.

“To finally see all of the hard work we had put in for months beforehand pay off when we became national champions was truly an unforgettable experience,” said Fritz.

Nationals consisted of team-based events only, but there was one exception. This special event took the top male and top female from each school who would compete for the title of Ultimate Raider. The Ultimate Raider segment included a 1 ¾ mile rucksack run ( ¾ mile with a rucksack and 1 mile without for the female division) with a few obstacles at the end.

Representing Ozark in the male division, Senior Elliott Godwin placed 3rd in the Ultimate Raider segment.

“Ever since I found out our position at the award ceremony, it’s been surreal. To me, JROTC gives a sense of camaraderie and companionship, and it felt like quite the honor to be the one male from Ozark able to compete in the Ultimate Raider segment,” said Godwin.

Although she only recently joined the Raiders program, Sophomore Kopelyn Delong proved that determination can lead to plenty of success. Delong placed 1st in the Ultimate Raider event, giving her a trophy and the Ultimate Raider title.

“My experience at Nationals was something I will never forget. Going into Raiders, I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t have the best idea of what I would be participating in. As time went on and practices continued, I met so many new people and some of my best friends. The Raiders really project an image of teamwork and determination on wanting to win Nationals,” said Delong.

Overall, the 2021 National Raider Championship will be an event to remember for many dedicated Raiders. Walking home with plenty of hardware, Ozark not only proved that they are the best in the nation, but will go down in history as champions.