AUSTIN, Texas – National Guard Soldiers and Airmen put their endurance and strength to the test during the National Guard’s All Guard Endurance Team competition in Austin Jan. 15.
The 120 Guard members, coming from 35 states and territories, competed for male and female slots on the team.
California Army National Guard members took top honors in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
Maj. Robert Killian, a Special Forces Soldier who has won the Army’s Best Ranger competition twice and Spartan World Championship obstacle race, finished first in the men’s category.
Maj. Samantha Wood, an ultramarathoner and physical therapist assigned to California’s Joint Force Headquarters, finished first among the women.
The All Guard Endurance Team began as a way to expand the National Guard Marathon Program, which promotes the Army and Air National Guard and improves retention through physical fitness, self-discipline and esprit de corps.
Guard members competed on 10 exercise machines after running 500 meters, the equivalent of a 5K run, indoors at the Austin Convention Center.
The system is known as DEKAFIT, from the Greek word for 10. Each machine tests endurance and strength in different ways.
“Really, what this competition showed me regardless of your fitness level … you’re competing against yourself. … You’re showing excellence and going above and beyond,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Oster, the assistant adjutant general for the South Dakota National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters.
Oster, who was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony, said the competition” makes you feel good about who you are and it makes you feel good about what you do.”
“You get camaraderie and teamwork in this while participating,” he added.
The competitors ranged from elite athletes to first-time participants.
Most of the competitors have been training for the new Army Combat Fitness Test, which emphasizes agility and strength. This competition provided new challenges with obstacles and more running.
The 10 “zones” of the competition were:
• RAM Alt Reverse Lunge
• 500M Row
• 24” Box Jump / Step Overs
• Med Ball Sit-Up
• 500M Ski Erg
• 100M Farmer’s Carry
• 25 kcal Air Bike
• Dead/Slam Ball Shoulder Over
• 100M Tank Push/Pull
• RAM Burpees
The event’s overall intent is to demonstrate a favorable opinion of physical fitness and promote holistic health and wellness across the National Guard force, according to Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Stephens, the National Guard’s military competitions coordinator.
The winners and the top three men and women in the masters (over 50) will represent the All Guard Team for the next two years.
Typically, the team will hold six events per year to spread the message of the National Guard and enhance recruiting.
“It opens up the door to talk to people at every venue,” Stephens said. “We have so many cool stories on the team. We have a guy that was in a car wreck and was told he would never walk again, and now he’s running marathons. So he gets to tell that story at every race, and it encourages people to join.”
Oster said the competition was all about excellence.
“Everybody I talked to today wanted to run a better time than they ran the last time or the last workout they did before they came here,” Oster said.
2021 All Guard Endurance Team:
Male- MAJ Robert Killian, California
Female- MAJ Samantha Wood, California
Team Award (Top three times from each state gender-mixed)
1st Place California
2nd Place Michigan
3rd Place Ohio
• SGT Derek Yorek, Arkansas
• 2LT Joshua Collins, Utah
• CPT Paul Fitzpatrick, Michigan
• SGT Bailey Ruff, South Dakota
• SSG James Ross, Wisconsin
• SGT James Potteiger, Virginia
• SSG Jerrod Abel, Ohio
• MSgt Jarred Surprenant, Rhode Island
• 1LT Jesse Mascoe, Kentucky
• CW2 Andrew Cato, South Carolina
• CPT Valentine Roberts, Hawaii
• CPT Ethan McIntosh, Texas
• CPT Austin Tenelshof, Michigan
• SFC Paul Hoffman, South Dakota
• SSG Anibal Soto, Puerto Rico
• MAJ Nick Whaley, New York
• CPT Joel Engle, South Dakota
• MAJ Andrew Miller, New York
• TSgt Brandon Eckel, Tennessee
• 1LT Justin Lowe, Arkansas
• MAJ Miguel Perez, New Mexico
• SSG Lucas Scott, South Dakota
• 1LT Nicholas Trentanelli, New York
• SGT Matthew Lee, Kentucky
• 2LT Brendan Sawyer, Michigan
• SSG Chris Edwards, Ohio
• SSG Shawn Schomer, Nebraska
• TSgt Brian McKinnon, Rhode Island
• SSG Jonathan Kunstmann, Texas
• CPT Gary Parks, Indiana
• SSG William Collins, Ohio
• SSG Nicholas Haggerty, Texas
• CPT Benjamin Smith, Maryland
• CPT Travis Kirchner, Nebraska
• ILT Andrew Sepulveda, Tennessee
• TSgt Zachary Walker, Rhode Island
• MAJ Daniel Barrow, Washington
• MSG Ramon Abreuperez, Virginia
• CPT Jeffrey Hopkinson, Nevada
• SSG Ian Turner, New York
• 2LT Daniel Wolf, Florida
• SSG Erich Friedlein, Pennsylvania
• SFC Travis Muhlnickel, New York
• COL Brian Coleman, Oklahoma
• SGT Alysha Moser, North Dakota
• SSG Margeruite Zaepfel, Wisconsin
• 2LT Crysta Halgrimson, North Dakota
• CPT Hannah Manson, Oklahoma
• MAJ Amanda Schmid, Nebraska
• SGM Shelley Horner, Texas
• SSG Jessica Bloom, Florida
• CPT Victoria Dibacco, Ohio
• CPT Lauren Meyer, Ohio
• SGT Katherine Roskoff, New York
• SGT Erin Jacobson, Washington
• CPT Alexandra Zacks, Michigan
• SPC Yesenia Ortiz, Puerto Rico
• LTC Tracy Graves, South Dakota
• SGT Erika Munoz, New Mexico
• SSG Yoraidyl Covey, Arizona
Masters (50 and older)-Male
• MSG Daniel Martin, Arkansas
• MAJ Jeffrey Kragh, Oklahoma
• SFC Kenny Culbertson, South Carolina
Masters (50 and older)-Female
• LTC Deborah Fisher, Pennsylvania
• MAJ Miki Matsuo, New Mexico