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U.S. Marine Corps Col. Joseph Galvin, commanding officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations East, supports the pull up bar during the National Junior Junior College Athletic Association Cross Country and Half Marathon Championships in Huntsville, Al., on November 10, 2023. Throughout the Championship, Marines engaged with coaches and administrators, congratulated the race winners and spread the Marine Corps message. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brenna Ritchie)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brenna Ritchie

U.S. Marines Present Battles Won Comeback Award at the NJCAA Cross Country, Half-Marathon Banquet

21 Nov 2023 | Lance Cpl. Brenna Ritchie Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine Corps Recruiting Command partnered with the National Junior College Athletic Association as they hosted the NJCAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 11, 2023, in Huntsville. This partnership was initiated to inspire influencers to provide recruiter access to qualified men and women.

The NJCAA, the national governing body for two-year college athletics, is the second-largest national intercollegiate athletic association in the United States. It supports 60,000 student athletes, 500 member colleges, 28 sports in 24 regions, hosting 52 championships per year.

The DI and DII Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country National Championships bring together athletes, administrators, and coaches of junior college athletics from across the United States. These annual championships include over 700 athletes, 60 to 65 teams, and over 1,000 spectators.

During the championships, U.S. Marine Corps Col. Joseph Galvin, commanding officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations East and coach of the Marine Corps Running Team, presented Kameron Eustace, a student at Trinidad State College, with the Battles Won Comeback Award. The award was presented to an athlete who overcame personal battles and had mental and/or physical resilience required to overcome obstacles and compete at the highest level.

“I think it was outstanding to not only represent the Marine Corps but to be able to present the Battles Won Comeback Award,” said Galvin. “Being able to give the award to someone who showed that type of perseverance is a testament to himself and what the Corps is all about.”

In December of 2022, Kameron was attacked by a wild dog, requiring him to have emergency surgery on his leg on Christmas morning. According to the assistant athletic director of Trinidad State College, Kyle Masterson, the doctors told him that he’d likely not run again and Kameron was concerned that his athletic scholarship would be over. Instead of giving up, Kameron spent months recovering, retraining himself to walk, jog and eventually run.

“When he was faced with a dire situation, he was courageous enough to fight back. When it looked like he would never run competitively again he stayed committed to being a great student-athlete and being even better than he was before,” said Masterson.

The Marines and the NJCAA offer the opportunity to develop new relationships with coaches, to build trust and create a larger pool of advocates to access talented young men and women. The Marine Corps seeks to find and attract the Marine of tomorrow– a smarter, lifelong learner who meets our tough physical standard and understands that while we modernize equipment and tactics, our success depends on their ability to adapt to emergent threats in austere environments.

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