McKenzie Mazzella – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – For some, Junior Reserved Officer Training Corps (JROTC) may just be a class to take in school, but for others JROTC offers teamwork, competition and physical fitness.
These cadets are on the Raiders team. Raiders is an athletic competition with multiple events that range all the way from a 5K run to crossing a rope bridge.
LRHS has a mixed raiders team, which means there’s only one team containing both boys and girls.
The LRHS Raiders team is the only sports team at the school that is mixed. Last year there were four girls on the team – Bree Mazzella, Danielle Wilhelm, Jen Gaffers and Rachel Mclanahan.
Three of the girls are on the team for the 2016-2017 school year, Mazzella, Wilhelm and Gaffers.
Mazzella, junior, joined the Raiders team last year.
“it was really strange and almost intimidating at first, there wasn’t a lot of girls and the guys outnumbered us,” she said. “It’s cool, I like knowing that we’re all equal; we can do anything that the guys can do.
“The kids on the Raider team have a brother/ sister relationship when it comes to picking each other up, it like a really dysfunctional relationship that somehow works.”
Wilhelm said it “motivates you to do your best, they push you to do better.”
LRHS JROTC Instructor Lt. Col. Richard Roller said “When competing on a mixed team you rely on one another to push each other, it relates back to life.
“No matter if they’re a guy or a girl, they’re all contributing members to a team, you have to look past their genders in order to be successful,” said Roller.