ARLINGTON, Va. – The 2021 Army Trials were executed in a new format that is part local, part virtual and all due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, athletes like 1st Lt. Angelica Forero put themselves to the test to earn a spot on Team Army in the 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games.
In years prior, Forero would have traveled to Fort Bliss, Texas, for Army Trials. Instead, she competed in the rowing, cycling, air rifle and archery competitions from the Fort Benning SRU, Georgia, where she is assigned.
“1st Lt. Forero’s ferocity and determination have been inspiring,” said Annalise Doyle, recreation therapist at the Fort Benning SRU. “She is a great example of an Army Soldier and her Army values and ‘hooah’ spirit have carried her through and helped her improve.”
Forero describes being an Army Trials athlete in much the same way a spectator might imagine it would be: challenging and a bit tiring, but at the same time fun and therapeutic. The experience also helped her learn something about herself. She realized that she’s good at shooting and likes the sport a great deal.
Training for Army Trials was also just plain fun. Forero enjoyed meeting her fellow athletes and said that they are supportive of each other. In fact, the best part of this experience for her has been the people she has met along the way, from the athletes to the support staff and coaches.
Forero shared advice for future Army Trials athletes that covers not just the physical, but also the mental aspects of competing.
“It's all about having a ‘can do’ attitude and practicing a lot,” she said.
Training for this year’s games has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Doyle said that they couldn’t begin training as early as they would’ve liked. Instead, the entire Adaptive Reconditioning Program schedule for February was dedicated to preparing Army Trials athletes. However, some things were unchanging in the face of pandemic-related challenges.
“While we are all apart, the camaraderie and esprit de corps is still as strong as ever,” she said.
Doyle said that Army Trials offers a great introduction to adaptive sports and she encourages those who are considering competing to do so.
“It opens them up to new opportunities that they may not have known about previously,” she said. “It also allows Soldiers who thought they would not be able to play sports the opportunity to be active and engaged.”
Forero encouraged others to take a chance and encompass a very special and celebrated aspect of Army Trials.
“You won't know what you can do until you try!” she said.