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The County Chronicle

The County Chronicle

NJROTC orienteering team places at nationals

Over the course of March 16 and 17, a select 15 NJROTC cadets competed at orienteering nationals in Blacksburg, South Carolina. 

“The team did an amazing job; we had a little bit of a rocky start on day one, but we pulled it together to come back and place fifth in the nation after day two,” senior Alan Crouse said. 

Despite a tough beginning to the competition, the team managed to bounce back with the freshman team placing third, the junior varsity team placing fourth, and the varsity team placing sixth. The team placed fifth overall. 

The goal of orienteering is to use a map and compass to navigate courses made up of secluded forests. Other than wearing the appropriate clothes (sweatpants and sneakers), they don’t have any other gear, though they can choose to bring water in a CamelBak hydration pack. 

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The courses range between 30 minutes and two hours, as well as in difficulty based on the terrain. There are a total of seven different course levels. “Ranging from easiest to hardest, there’s white, yellow, orange, brown, green, red, and blue,” freshman Micah Wollam said.

If someone happens to get lost, they have an app on their phone called What3Words to lead them to the finish line and they also have a whistle so that people can find them. However, they also spend time reviewing orienteering techniques and map symbols to prevent this. One such technique includes “aiming off.”

“[Aiming off is] Where you have a point and you go to the left side of the point, that way when you arrive at the point, you know it’s to your right,” Wollam said. 

They also practiced two days a week to practice running harder courses, as well as other skills.

“One to review maps of past competitions to plan the best routes and another to physically train, which included about a two-mile run,” Crouse said.  

Other than improving navigational skills, the orienteering team also poses as an opportunity to make new friends and have new experiences. 

“It’s definitely given me a place in the unit. I’m a lot more connected to some of the top people there,” Wollam said. 

As cadets create a sense of community and gain familiarity, they also obtain requisite, essential, and vital skills that they can use in everyday life. 

“The team’s bond has been a really great thing throughout high school for me because of the friends I have made, and not only the orienteering skills, but also teamwork and leadership skills I’ve picked up from being on the team,” junior Andrew Wilson said. 

With the orienteering team’s consistent successes and strong affiliation with one another, many are eager for the years to come. 

“Even though I’m leaving this year, I’m excited to see the improvement that the team makes over the next years to hopefully win the national championship,” Crouse said.

(From left to right) Sophomore Fallon Murphy, freshman Madelyn Homa, junior Tyler Jones, sophomore Logan Deladurantaye, freshman Sam Edwards, freshman Julen Ahedo, freshman Josh Bedrowsky, junior Octavian Ashford, freshman Micah Wollam, senior Alan Crouse, junior Andrew Wilson, junior Mike Du Plessis, sophomore Brandon Camocho, junior Rowan Mendenhall, and sophomore Tucker Boos showcasing the awards they won after orienteering nationals. (Photo courtesy of Micah Wollam)

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About the Contributor
Scarlett Ashford, staff writer
Scarlett Ashford is a freshman at Loudoun County High School, and this is her first year as a staff writer for The County Chronicle. She enjoys playing softball, has been playing piano for the past 7 years, and is 4th chair French horn for the Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra. She spends her free time writing, reading, listening to rock music, and watching horror movies.

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