Soaring High

Soaring High
Posted on 01/29/2024
Jaguars Air Force Junior ROTC Raider Team

The Blue Springs South High School Air Force Junior ROTC program is building a legacy of national proportions. For the second straight year, the Jaguars took home a national championship from the Annual All-Service Raider National Championships in Georgia.

The Jaguars are back-to-back national champions in the Air Force division, which brings together more than 1,400 cadets and instructors from across the country. Last year, BSSHS won the mixed division. This year they took first place overall in the male division with a squad that included eight returning students led by Cadet Colonel Anthony Lorek and Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Zach Koso.

The Jaguars’ male team placed first among Air Force teams in the 4K mountain run and gauntlet, and second in one rope bridge, cross country rescue and physical team test. Among 29 all-service JROTC programs (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine schools), the Jaguars finished sixth overall nationally in both the male and mixed divisions.

Senior Zach Koso was a member of both national championship teams, and a cadet leader this year. He said the key to success is hard work, but most of all functioning as a team.

“It has been an honor to have commanded this season's Raider team alongside my best friend Anthony, but the credit goes to the team - without their work, dedication, and trust this season would not have been possible. JROTC goes deeper than just a class - it is a family filled with my best friends that I know will be with me through life.”

Senior Anthony Lorek was also a member of both championship teams, and this year’s leader. He said the entire season has been one to remember.

“It wasn’t just Raider Nationals that was great. It began back in August when we started practice and we bonded with our teammates. I have built new and close relationships with teammates this year because of how close we were as a team. JROTC has been a second home throughout high school, and has given me leadership opportunities, lifelong relationships, and has guided me to what I want to do in life.”

The Raider team and BSSHS AFJROTC program is led by Colonel Stan Cole and Senior Master Sergeant Courtney Jones. The BSSHS AFJROTC program received an “exceeds standards” rating during its Head Quarters AFJROTC Unit Evaluation after going through all aspects of the program – uniform inspections, curriculum, finance, logistics, health and wellness, drill, instructor certifications, and more. This is the highest rating a unit may receive.