By LorettaRodgers

 lrodgers@myspiritnews.com

The National High School Physical Fitness Championships, hosted by the United States Marines Youth Foundation in San Diego, California, is the culmination of grueling preparation. The Sun Valley High School JROTC Fitness team returned from this year’s annual championships as number one in the nation for the second consecutive year.

This is the eighth year that Sun Valley sent both its male and female JROTC teams to the national championship. The boy’s team performed well, but missed placing this year.

The competition was the finale of a year’s worth of training.

Under Master Gunnery Sergeant James Pearn, the Sun Valley JROTC students pushed their bodies to the highest standards in physical fitness to prepare for the competition.

Master Gunnery Sergeant James Pearn poses with Sun Valley High School JRROTC cadets Stephanie Farnsworth, Angela Sauter-Faga, Shelby Jackson, Elizabeth Luoma, Cassie Morris, and Elaina Reynolds. The team captured the National High School Physical Fitness Championship for the second consecutive year. Photo courtesy of the Penn-Delco School District

Master Gunnery Sergeant James Pearn poses with Sun Valley High School JRROTC cadets Stephanie Farnsworth, Angela Sauter-Faga, Shelby Jackson, Elizabeth Luoma, Cassie Morris, and Elaina Reynolds. The team captured the National High School Physical Fitness Championship for the second consecutive year. Photo courtesy of the Penn-Delco School District

“I am so proud of our girl’s team for earning the national title for the second year in a row,” said Pearn.  “After last year’s first place win, I knew we had a decent shot at winning the title again, but we would certainly have to work hard. The win shows the depth of our training.  We work so hard throughout the year and push the students toward continuous improvement so they are ready for this competition. Every year we face schools with student populations of more than 4,000 and for our students to stand out against these bigger programs is a testament to their dedication to the JROTC program.”

Each member of the team contributed to their national achievement.

Stephanie Farnsworth participated by completing 28 pull-ups in two minutes, and Shelby Jackson led the way, finishing first in the JROTC individual competition. Following close behind were Elaina Reynolds, who placed second, and Cassie Morris, who placed seventh in the individual competition.

Rounding out the team were Angela Sauter and Liz Luoma, who scored their personal best.

The national championship is a two-day meet, held annually in San Diego. The competition encompassed five events, which included crunches, push-ups, standing long jump, pull-ups and 300-yard shuttle run. They are all timed, with a three-minute rest between each event. The judges are US Marines, who insure that everyone completes each event according to their specific protocol. Teams competing at the national level are determined by results from state competitions. High schools must compete and obtain a qualifying score at the state level to secure a spot at the national event.

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