The Lely JROTC Raider team swooped in to capture the state championship last weekend in West Palm Beach.
After winning the regional title for four straight years, they paraded away with the state championship, knocking off 14 other teams throughout the state.
The mixed squad, with five of the eight being from Marco Island, accumulated the most overall points for obstacle course, physical training, first aid-litter carry and land navigation.
“Man, this was a huge accomplishment that I have been working on for four years,” said JROTC Cadet Lt. Col. Jordan Sorrenti of Marco.
He was the lone team member to have competed all four years at the state championship.
“We worked our butts off and did what we had to do to win,” he said. “It is even more pleasing that we won before I go to West Point (Academy this summer).”
Sorrenti and juniors Cadet Capt. Amber Imm and Cadet Capt. Jade Dworkin, also of Marco, were the team leaders.
Other team members are Cadet Capt. Jonathan Perez and Cadet Pvt. Devon Imm, both of Marco, Cadet Lt. Daryl Townsend, Cadet Lt. Liberio Miguel and Cadet Cpl. Ryan Carl, with Cadet Pvt. Santiago Munez as alternate.
Master Sgt. Laureano Santiago coached the squad, along with Dave Price, Lt. Col., Ret., head of the Lely JROTC program.
Dworkin said she focused on the team doing well, making sure they all executed well.
“This is a competition where everyone needed to be fine-tuned,” she said.
Amber Imm helped the team by winning the two-mile run portion of the physical training category where the team placed first overall. They were second in land navigation, second in the obstacle course and third in first aid and litter carry.
For Amber Imm, who has won many big races for the cross country team, she said the feeling was different.
“It feels amazing, just indescribable,” she said.
Now Santiago is on the line because he told the squad that if it won they would get promotions.
“I guess I made a mistake there, they’ve been whining ever since Saturday,” he said.