Weddington High Girls MCJROTC Finishes 3rd At National Fitness Event

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Weddington High School has a nationally ranked athletic team.

The ladies Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (MCJROTC) Athletic Team at Weddington High School is among the best in the nation after competing in a national event at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego last month.

The Weddington MCJROTC team finished third in the country at the National JROTC Youth Physical Fitness Championships May 19 as the six ladies competed in a host of physical fitness events against other top teams from around the country.

Team members were Emma Pincus, Lucy Pincus, Morgan Grant, Annie Sloyan, Amelia Kudela and Jessica Dohman. The Weddington ladies defeated 53 others teams to win  Region 2 to qualify for the expense paid trip to San Diego. Region 2 consists of high schools from North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and a part of Tennessee.

This is just the fourth year for the MCJROTC program at Weddington and retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major Matthew Brookshire, who teaches MCROTC at the school, said the girls worked hard to qualify for the national championships.

“The girls have worked really hard,” Brookshire said. “The last two years the team came in third (at regional) both years. The boys came in fourth last year and fifth this year (at regional). So, they are getting close.”

To qualify for the national event team members submitted results in crunches, push-ups, standing broad jump, pull-ups and a 300-yard shuttle. All the events are held consecutively with only a few minutes of rest between each event.

“Every year they have what they call a postal match for all the ROTC’s in the nation,” Brookshire said. “We monitor the tests and then we send the scores up to our headquarters  to compete in the regional level. We came in first in our region.”

That’s when the team’s training shifted into high gear. The ladies started training at the start of the school year and worked out as a team and on their own leading up to the deadline for regional qualifying.

“We had physical training twice a week starting at the beginning of the year,” Brookshire said. “They also had a program that they did on their on their own. March is when we did the regional meet and after that when we knew we were going to nationals we practiced Monday through Thursday after school. We worked on all the events for about two hours each day after school.”

The team went through the same schedule of events at the national championships and the top five individual scores in each event counted towards the final score. Lucy Pincus was Weddington’s leading scorer with 298 points.

But Brookshire said it was a total team effort that allowed Weddington to finish in the top three in the country.

“The first event was the crunches and they had two minutes to do a max set and all the girls got 100 crunches in two minutes,” Brookshire said. “The next event was push-ups and you had to get to 60 in two minutes and all but one girl got that.”

But the fitness championships were not the only item on the team’s itinerary as the ladies visited the beach, took trips to Sea World and the zoo and had other team building events.

“We also went bowling and we went out and had a nice dinner after the competition,” Brookshire said. “The highlight was Sea World and the zoo.”

Only Dohman and Grant are seniors and Brookshire is looking forward to making another run at a national championship next season. Dohman is going to North Carolina State to study bio engineering with Grant is going to North Carolina-Charlotte to study statistics.

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at