On Saturday, members of SFA’s ROTC’s Ranger Challenge Teams competed in Fort Hood for the annual Ranger Challenge Competition.
In this three-day event, Ranger Challenge Team 1 earned second place overall. The team took first place in the Commanders Cup obstacle course. This course was a series of obstacles that each team had to go through in the shortest amount of time that included rope climbing, wall climb, monkey bars, pull ups, fireman carries and more.
Ranger Challenge Team 2 earned seventh place overall and took first place in the communications lane. Both teams earned banners in the competitions they took first place in.
Other events the teams participated in included the 10-mile ruck march, functions checks, tactical combat casualty care and rope bridge. Students must use land navigation skills to get from challenge to challenge. These events help prepare students for real life situations in the army on the field.
According to Furman University, “Ranger Challenge is a competition where teams of 10 ROTC cadets compete in various events which include M-16 disassembly/ assembly, an APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test), day and night orienteering, a written land navigation test, grenade assault course, BRM (Basic Rifle Marksmanship), a ‘mystery event’ and the obstacle course.”
Members of the Ranger Challenge Team have been physically and mentally preparing for this competition.
“We did a lot of physical conditioning,” said Cadet Michael Zeringue. “Each week leading up to the competition got more and more strenuous. We did workouts such as 400 and 800-meter sprints, calisthenics, ruck marches, swimming and long runs that got up to seven miles.”
According to Cadet Nick Walker, cadets prepared a culminating training schedule that totaled over 50 miles of foot marching and 100 miles of sprinting and running. Training sessions also included a low-impact cardio session in the pool once a week. Strength training sessions involved push- up and sit-up based workouts.
The team’s goal was to finish in the top three places in every event to help average the scores out. However, they usually placed in the top four or five.
After the competition, MSG Cantu, Senior Military Instructor gave the team words of advice for their careers.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what you did. At the end of the day, it’s about laying your cards on the table. Sometimes the hand that you have is good, sometimes the hand you have is not great, sometimes you push,” Cantu said. “A couple of things I want you to think about; Physicality and hardness, you have put a premium on that in your career as an army officer. This [competition] was easy, [that] is how you should think about it. [For] a lot of you, this was the hardest thing you've had to do in your life."