From Bob Jones High School, Air Force JROTC, competing as ‘B-21 Raider,’ claimed top places at the Tuscaloosa Gauntlet. CONTRIBUTED

Bob Jones AFJROTC aces first try at obstacle course

MADISON – The cadets in Air Force Junior ROTC or AFJROTC at Bob Jones High School never back down from a challenge. They recently showed the power of determination – even if you do not have experience to achieve an easy win.

“Twelve cadets embarked on a journey on March 23 to compete in a U.S. Marine Regulation Obstacle Course in Tuscaloosa, known as the Tuscaloosa Gauntlet,” according to Maj. (ret.) Dr. Melissa M. Lacey, who served in the U.S. Air Force and now works as a Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at Bob Jones.

The Tuscaloosa Gauntlet involves a five-mile race and Marine-regulation O-Course with 20-plus obstacles, including climbing a 25-foot cargo net ‘mountain,’ jumping high-low beams, low crawling through muddy terrain and ending in a mud ice-bath before finishing the race. Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority, Visit Tuscaloosa and Alabama Marines Foundation sponsored the third annual Tuscaloosa Gauntlet.

The courses provided a challenge for both competitive racers and novices alike.

“Bob Jones does not even have an obstacle course for us to practice on. I took 12 cadets to Tuscaloosa without ANY practice,” Lacey said.

“Did I expect them to place in the competition? I did not. But the tenacity of these students amazes me, daily,” Lacey said.

The Bob Jones “B-21 Raider” team, as they are called, “is in its infancy, but these young men and women are accomplishing amazing feats,” Lacey said. “The moniker, ‘B-21 Raider,’ comes from the name of the US Air Force’s newest bomber, the B-21 — precision striker, lethal and stealth. That’s my team!”

All three teams from Bob Jones successfully finished the race, and the teams claimed first, second and third place in the JROTC wave of competitors:

* Bob Jones B-21 Raider, Team 1 – First place, JROTC wave with Logan Jackson, Nick Lozano, Manfred Rosero and Trey Schiber.

* Bob Jones B-21 Raider, Team 3 – Second place, JROTC wave with Nick Jensen, Kricket Johnston, Gabriel Martin and Taylor Zich.

* Bob Jones B-21 Raider, Team 2 – Third place, JROTC wave with Matthew Dougherty, Brandon Nakamura, David Peterson and Emily Welborf.

For more information, visit tuscaloosagauntlet.com.

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