By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)October 27, 2016
The 1st Engineer Brigade and Waynesville High School partnered to host the 2nd Annual Fort Leonard Wood Survival of the Fittest Raider Meet Saturday.
Twenty-three high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Core Raider teams came from Missouri and surrounding states to compete in the event.
The meet consisted of seven team events, six for score toward overall standings and a two-man Ultimate Raider Buddy Run.
Leavenworth High School, Kansas, and Waynesville High School finished one and two overall, with multiple Waynesville students finishing in the top three individually.
The event is designed to be a thorough evaluation of a Raider team's physical fitness level and technical competency in field tasks and teamwork, according to Col. Charles Williams, senior instructor, Waynesville High School JROTC.
"It is very physically demanding," he said. "Having been in the Army for a long time, I can tell you there are lots of Soldiers who probably couldn't do what these kids do in a day."
Aaron Besgrove, Air Force JROTC Raider Team, Lee's Summit West High School, Missouri, agreed, saying Saturday was a long day and his team was tired.
"It's good competition and we only hope to get better every year," he added.
The Fort Leonard Wood event began with a modified Army Physical Fitness Test where teams of eight students completed the test in combat boots and uniform pants.
From there, the teams competed in a road march exceeding 10 kilometers, completed the Physical Endurance Course and constructed a one-rope bridge.
Samantha Murphy, Army JROTC Raider Team, Leavenworth High School, Kansas, and her co-ed Raider team completed the one-rope bridge in just over two minutes. She credited the work her team has put into practices as to why they were so fast.
"Everyone was working together, and it went smoothly," she said.
The final two events for team scores included a Monkey Fist relay and a 2-mile cross-country run. The Monkey Fist requires two teams of four cadets to carry a litter weighted down with 120 pounds and two, 35-pound rucksacks. Students had to carry them 400 meters before completing 40 pull-ups. Total time included both teams completing the relay.
The final event of the competition was the Ultimate Buddy Run where two-man teams ran together over a 1.5-mile course.
Waynesville's female team of Stephanie Trudell and Madeline McDonald finished first among all female teams.
Capt. Veronica Bell, assistant operations officer, 554th Engr. Bn., said she was impressed with the Raider teams that competed Saturday.
"These kids are awesome," she said. "They are already ready to be Soldiers. They are ready to be Warriors."
Murphy said there is no other sport like Raiders.
"Football players say they can do Raiders," she said, "but if they come out to one of these meets, it's 8 hours of hard, physical activity. They can't do it."