Blue Devils on target

Published 4:42 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

By Staff
Special to the Advance
The Escambia County High School Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Marksmanship Team attended the annual Alabama Sports Festival in Birmingham June 29 – July 1. This event brings together thousands of young competitors from across the state to compete in many different sports. ECHS NJROTC sharpshooters competed in Three Position and International air rifle marksmanship.
The cadets from Atmore joined in the opening ceremonies, marching in the Parade of Athletes. They enjoyed indoor fireworks and musical performances by the Gardendale First Baptist Church and Orchestra and the Southeastern All-Star Marching Band. The Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Arena was a full house with competitors and Alabama military service members and veterans who were recognized in a Special Tribute to Honor our Alabama Heroes from Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. It was a spectacular event for the young athletes from all across Alabama.
Atmore's cadets won a total of 15 medals. The Team shooters, Lillian Dennis, Charles Lee, Quadarell Redmond and Markita Deese brought home gold medals as the first place team in Three Position, Sporter Class (pneumatic) and silver medals as the second place team in Sporter Class (compressed air).
In the individual International Sporter Category (pneumatic), first place gold went to cadet Jerry Johnson, second place silver to cadet Lillian Dennis and third place bronze to cadet Charles Lee.
In the individual Three Position Category (pneumatic), first place gold went to cadet Charles Lee, second place silver to cadet Markita Deese and third place bronze to cadet Jerry Johnson.
"Such success does not occur in a vacuum," said ECHS senior naval science instructor and marksmanship coach, John Sweeting. "The NJROTC here has enjoyed great support from Atmore's Veterans of Foreign Wars (a team sponsor) and American Legion as well as the National Rifle Association Foundation through Alabama Field Representative Tony Landenwhich and local NRA Coach Jack Mitchel. Mike Boatwright, parent of graduating senior Matt Boatwright and other parents remain avid activists, as do Benny and Bobby Respress of Atmore and many others. I wish I could list all of the great people in the Atmore area who have given the NJROTC their time and support. This is a great community for the students. Our principal, Mr. Kyle Ferguson is also one of our biggest fans and supporters."
The cadets lodged at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham. When not competing they had the chance to unwind with some boating, fishing and swimming, as well as cooking out.
The five winning cadets are now eligible to compete at the State Games of America, to be held at Colorado Springs, Colo. in 2009.
Sweeting plans to take cadets to compete in next year's Alabama Sports Festival and hopes to travel to Colorado Springs in '09.
"I am confident, with the avid community support here in Atmore, we can make attending the State Games of America a reality in the summer of 2009," he said.
Atmore's Blue Devil cadets are looking forward to another busy school year. Competition teams are forming for Drill, Athletics, Academics, Orienteering, and of course, Marksmanship. For more information on the Alabama Sports Festival, go to For additional information on the State Games of America, go to

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox