Ona, W.Va. --
Approximately 100 Marines and poolees braved below freezing temperatures to compete for top bragging rights during Recruiting Station Charleston’s Statewide Pool Meet held Nov. 23 in Beckley, W.Va.
The meet is a semi-annual event conducted every spring and fall, with the purpose of further exposing poolees to life in the Marine Corps.
“It’s an opportunity to bring everyone together and build cohesiveness by working as a team,” said Sgt. James Reifke, the pool program specialist for RS Charleston and a Lockport, Ill. native. “Poolees get a chance to see what boot camp is like and what they will experience.”
The meet began with the initial strength test, which is a gauge of whether or not a poolee is physically fit enough to attend recruit training. The IST consists of a timed one and a half mile run, two minutes of a maximum amount of crunches and a set of pull-ups for males and a timed flexed-arm hang for females.
After the IST, the poolees had lunch which consisted of a meal, ready-to-eat, a standard field ration for service members. During lunch, the poolees were ‘motivated’ by two drill instructors from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island who gave the poolees a small taste of recruit training such as how to stand in formation or address a drill instructor.
“I did not expect that at all,” said Avina Sedlock, a poolee from Fayetteville, W.Va., speaking about the drill instructors. “It was pretty tough … especially when you have to sit with your back straight and eat as quickly as you can.”
During the afternoon portion of the Statewide Pool Meet, the poolees and Marines formed a team representing their recruiting sub-station and competed against other sub-stations in a series of events, such as tug-of-war, dizzy-izzy, pushups, and relay runs to build camaraderie and determine which sub-station is the best.
Recruiting Sub-Station Huntington came out on top as the winner of the Statewide Pool Meet, as well as having two poolees, John Lang from Proctorville, Ohio, and Tabitha Whited, from Huntington, W.Va., take first place for top performing male and female respectively.
Staff Sgt. Matthew Rogers, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Sub-Station Huntington and a Trafford, Pa. native, said his poolees are used to tough competition, explaining why his station performed so well during the pool meet.
“We have run field meets within our RSS several times,” said Rogers. “Our poolees are accustomed to competing like this. They were eager to win and wouldn’t accept failure.”