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Riverside Military Academy Junior ROTC Raider program looking to mount another national championship campaign
Junior ROTC
Riverside Military Academy Raider Team member competes. Photo by Natalae LaDouceur

BY NATALAE LADOUCEUR

For The Times

Riverside Military Academy’s Junior ROTC Raiders program has a strong heritage, owning multiple state and national championships and is looking to add to its legacy. 

The obstacle-driven and critical-thinking sport hits its stride, starting with the state championship Saturday. Riverside Military, which has three first-place finishes this season, is chasing its fifth title in seven years.

According to the US Army Junior ROTC organization, Raiders is focused on honing mental and physical skills, pushing the participants to the limit. 

This sport tests teamwork and leadership. 

Each Raider team consists of 10 members competing in an obstacle course, five-kilometer team run and rope bridge, among other grueling challenges. 

Riverside Military coach David Croft and assistant coach Jorge Sosa prepare its athletes strategically and methodically. 

Sosa strongly calls at practice, “Pain is beautiful, Makes you feel alive.” 

Because the coaches demand perfection and the cadets respond, Gainesville’s private military school is home to five Raider national titles. 

Croft believes success in this program is because a cadet’s spot is never secure, based on past success. 

A cadet’s position on the team can be won and lost through a challenge. 

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