By Todd PrudenApril 12, 2019
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Winning is the name of the game at the 2019 edition of the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition. Especially this year, as returning teams look to reclaim their top spots amongst the massive amount of competition.
Three teams out of the 49 competing made names for themselves last year with finishes in the top five and all eyes will be directed toward them as they look to re-create their success. The U.S. Air Force Academy, the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of North Georgia ROTC all walked away with bragging rights last year as they led the way with honors.
The USAFA team enters Sandhurst 2019 as the defending champions , but the team has remained modest about their success despite being the first American team not from the U.S. Military Academy to win the competition.
"It was awesome, but it was also humbling at the same time that we were able to accomplish that," said Capt. Jaime Jared, officer in charge of summer training and coach of the USAFA team.
However, the top team will not be dethroned without a fight. They are motivated to finish in first place again.
"It would prove a consistency with our training, and it would mean that it wasn't just a fluke incident, but that we have worked extremely hard and have trained extremely hard all year to get to this level," said Cadet Anthony Vaccaro, a managing major and USAFA Sandhurst squad leader.
RMC-Canada walked away as the best international team in 2018.Though the Canadian team found success last year, they don't seem completely content with just being the top international team. RMC-Canada has won Sandhurst five times, but only once in the last decade.
"We're going for the number one spot. Since we're so competitive and such a driven team. Yes, we're proud of becoming first international, but we wanted top biscuit," said RMC-Canada Cadet Eric Guevremont.
The University of North Georgia ROTC team proved to be the finest faction amongst all other ROTC teams last year. The high finish last year gave the team hope to put on an even more impressive performance this year. The driven scholars from North Georgia have a sense of pride this time around heading into the grueling events. An ROTC team has never won the competition and they will face additional competition this time around as the number of ROTC teams has increased from eight to 16.
"The team felt extremely proud in the name of UNG, and it put more of a meaning behind everything we did in training up for Sandhurst," said Cadet Walker Dunlap, a criminal justice major and team member.
All in all, Sandhurst is about more than just winning, it is about building bridges.
"Results are fun, but it's about it's how you feel leaving the race and the relationships that you build here during the competition," said Guevremont.
For more information about the 2019 Sandhurst Military Skills Competition go to https://westpoint.edu/Sandhurst.