By Mr. Michael Maddox (ROTC)April 18, 2018
West Point, New York (April 14, 2018) -- The hills and ranges surrounding West Point were filled with hundreds of Cadets, making up 64 teams, from across the globe this past weekend as they competed against one another to see who would come out on top during the Sandhurst Military Skills competition.
When all was said and done, the team from the U.S. Air Force Academy was declared the winner. While none of the eight Army ROTC teams won the top spot, the Cadets from University of North Georgia led the way for Cadet Command, placing fourth, Michigan State in sixth place and Brigham Young University in tenth.
The Sandhurst Military Skills competition is a diverse multinational and joint service competition that attracts teams from across the globe to test physical fitness, military proficiency and leadership. During the event, each squad is required to perform a series of military tasks along a designated route. Scores are determined by combining the points they earn by performing each military task along the route.
Examples of events that were included are: completing an obstacle course, day and night land navigation, a Zodiac water crossing, rifle and pistol marksmanship, trauma care (under fire) with a medical evacuation, basic Infantry squad tasks and completing and CBRN lane.
Cadet Kevin Lewis, a senior at Brigham Young University, said he's glad he had the opportunity to take on the test of Sandhurst.
"I've been wanting to do it, but never made it happen until this year - this is my first year being on the Ranger Challenge team," he said. "Now that it's over I'm glad to be done. It was tough but it was also a good competition. There were definitely some things we could have done better but I think we definitely performed well on a lot of the events. What's done is done -- we left everything on the battlefield."
This year was Cadet Alec Selberg's, Iowa State, first year on his school's Ranger Challenge team. Even so, he said he's not deterred from competing in the future.
"I would come back next year, I would just bring extra moleskin and train on more hills obviously. Hiking up and down mountains is pretty tough compared to Iowa," he said. "Navigating on this terrain was pretty hard, with all of the hills and dense woodland. You're walking on a mountain one minute and a swamp the next - it just is what it is.
"But we all worked as a team and made it back so that's a good thing. I'm just ready unlace my boots and sit down for a little bit," added Selberg.
This was Cadet Hannah Whitney's, Temple University, third year on the Ranger Challenge team. The future armor officer said the experience she's gained will help her when she attends Ranger School.
"This weekend was probably one of the most challenging things I've ever encountered. I wouldn't have been able to do it without my team members so I really hope I meet people at Ranger school are half as good as these people," she shared. "Our big thing is the team chemistry - our morale was high and if someone needed help someone else was there for them -- I think that's the way we got through this competition."
The ranking for the rest of the Army ROTC teams who competed in Sandhurst are: Georgetown University, 25th; University of Washington, 31st; Iowa State, 46th; University of Alabama, 60th; and Temple University, 62nd.
For more information about the Sandhurst Military Skills competition, visit https://www.usma.edu/dmi/sitepages/sandhurstcompetition.aspx