Stuttgart, Kaiserslautern win service JROTC shooting competitions again

Aiden Malcolm, left, and Vivian Dougherty shoot from the prone position during Kaiserslautern's participation in the Air Force JROTC precision class championships earlier this month. The Raiders won the competition for the second straight year.


By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 28, 2021

Note: This article has been corrected.

The top two high school marksmanship programs in Europe continue to hold their own against the top JROTC competition in the United States.

Stuttgart, which has won eight straight DODEA-Europe marksmanship titles, defended its Army JROTC precision class title earlier this month in a virtual competition, edging Fountain-Fort Carson of Colorado by six points. The score also earned the Panthers quartet a No. 3 finish in the all-service rankings and a chance to compete in the Junior Olympics this summer at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Kaiserslautern, second to Stuttgart in Europe the past two seasons, retained the Air Force JROTC precision class title with a 30-point victory margin over Cherokee High School of Georgia. The Raiders finished 14th in the all-services rankings.

Stuttgart tallied the second-best prone position score on the second day of the two-day competition, scoring 794 of a potential 800. The Panthers were better in standing on the second day than the first (758 to 746) but were better on kneeling on the first day (778 to 784).

Senior Maria Tortorelli, a two-time European champion, was 11th overall with a score of 1,169 and was perfect in the prone competition. Teammate Leila Ybarra finished with the same overall score and was 13th based on other criteria. Kate Swett, second in Europe this year, finished 37th with a score of 1,161. Freshman Nole Smith was 53rd with a 1,154 total.

Smith said Wednesday that she was thrilled with her team’s finish and happy with her own efforts in light of her relative inexperience with the air rifles used in the competitions.

“I had never even touched a gun before, so I was kind of nervous about” trying out the sport, she said. “I thought about volleyball, but then that got canceled (due to COVID-19 restrictions). So I was in JROTC and thought I’d give it a try.”

Fellow freshman Regina Angeles, who served as alternate for the team, said much of the credit goes to longtime coach Raul Pinon, who pushes his shooters to improve every time they head to the range.

“He doesn’t sugarcoat it,” she said, laughing.

Kaiserslautern, the newest JROTC marksmanship competitor in Europe, was led by junior Aiden Malcolm (1,150, 64th). Other team members included junior Jonathan Stricker (1,147, 69th), freshman Hannah San Pedro (1,145, 76th) and junior Vivian Dougherty (1,134, 98th).

The four shooters were third, fourth, sixth and ninth in the Air Force competition.

Two other DODEA-Europe programs competed. Ansbach finished 34th and Alconbury 41st among the 49 programs that qualified. Collin Robertson (1,125, 122nd) was the Cougars’ top scorer and Christopher Pardo (1,179, 184th) led the Dragons.

The top two programs were both Marine Corps JROTC entrants. Granbury High School of Texas won that service event and finished first overall with a total score of 4,709. Second-place East Coweta High School of Georgia scored 4,657 – just four more than Stuttgart. The Navy winner was Joshua High School of Texas, which was ninth overall.

Granbury’s Sarah Folsom was the top individual finisher with a total of 1,187.

Twitter: @kharris4stripes

Correction: Standings in the all-service competition changed and this version includes the latest information.

Hannah San Pedro, left, and Jonathan Stricker shoot during the kneeling form portion of Kaiserslautern's participation in the Air Force JROTC precision class national competition. The Raiders retained their title from a year ago.