By Staff Sgt. Marshall Pesta and Sgt. Mark Boyer, Special to the ParaglideOctober 8, 2009
WASHINGTON - The Fort Bragg active duty women's Army 10-Miler team brought home gold for the second year in a row Sunday with a time of 4:38:01. The Fort Bragg active duty men's team placed sixth in their division and eighteenth overall with a time of 4:02:39.
Master Sgt. Angella Jackson, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and active duty women's team captain from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, led the Fort Bragg women's team to victory for the second consecutive year, and her third Army Ten-miler team championship.
According to Jackson, diverse training gave her team the edge.
"The secret is quality, consistent training," she said. "We have a good overall team that pulls together and provides support to push each other through any barriers we may face."
For the Fort Bragg women, there was no cause for nerves prior to the race kickoff, as the team tried to keep things business as usual. The team trained tirelessly and ran as much as 50 miles a week on average.
"I have always wanted to run for Fort Bragg and I look forward to a third run as team captain next year," said Jackson.
Among Jackson's team members was Grace Feldpausch, who competed this year as a first-time member of the Fort Bragg team. Feldpausch, a Brea, Calif. native, said she would have enjoyed this year's event, win or lose.
"Winning the race this year filled me with an extreme sense of pride and accomplishment, but we didn't need to win for me to cherish the time I spent with these amazing women," explained Feldpausch, a second lieutenant and Route Clearance platoon leader assigned to the 264th Clearance Co., 27th Eng. Bn. , 20th Eng. Bde.
"Therefore, I work in a truly male-dominated environment. The team allowed me to interact with female noncommissioned and commissioned officers, who offered me not only physical and mental development, but professional as well."
She said she especially enjoyed the camaraderie the team developed and its high standard that proved instrumental in earning the Fort Bragg women their second consecutive Commander's Cup trophy.
" I believe our team won this year because we held ourselves to a very high standard, truly cared about one another, and never settled for less than our best, even at practice," Feldpausch added.
"We had a healthy level of competition within the team and a shared eagerness for victory that forced us to push ourselves. I will truly miss running with these beautiful and strong women, no matter how sore I was after every practice."
Team member Kalynn Waltrip said she also found motivation in her teammates, before and during the race.
"I am thrilled that we won this years race," she said. "This was my first time on a racing team and I could not have asked for a better team.
"I truly believe the reason we won this race is because of the females on the team," said Waltrip, who hails from Phelan, Calif. "You would never finish a practice without a congratulations or a pat on the back from your teammates. They were my motivation when I wanted to slow down, because knowing that they were out here giving it there all for team made me want to give it my for the team."
"We had a team that complemented each other and a great coach who was our best runner," said Michelle Ripka, an Army major an one of Jackson's teammates.
"Plus, you couldn't have asked for better weather. It was a beautiful day in our Nation's capital and it felt good to win."
Ripka, who is a self-proclaimed Army brat, said Fort Bragg always has a great team and it was special to be a part of this year's team.
Jackson also expressed her thanks to her chain of command, the XVIII Airborne Corps and the entire Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation team on Fort Bragg for allowing her to participate in the annual event.
This annual event got its start Oct. 13, 1985 with only 1,600 registered athletes. However, this year's race set a new record for attendance and featured 30,000 athletes joining this storied Army tradition.
The 10-mile course began and ended at the Pentagon and passed through historic Washington, D.C. landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Capitol Building, with onlookers such as Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey and new Secretary of the Army, John McHugh cheering for the participants.
Fort Bragg sent a total of 17 individuals to represent the men's active duty, women's active duty and master's division for the competition.
The Fort Bragg active duty men's team placed 6th overall and 18th in their division, with a time of 4:02:39.
CW4 Jonathan Yerby, a Stockton, Calif., native and captain of the post's active duty master's team, led three other Soldiers from the United States Army Special Operations Command to the event. Yerby has competed in a variety of races from the Boston Marathon to the John F. Kennedy Fifty-Miler. He said his team competes in these races because of their love for running.
"We love to run and we're looking for a strong finish," Yerby said. "Everyone is well trained and ready."
The women's active duty team was recognized by the Military District of Washington, as well as highlighted during the opening of the Association of the United States Army Annual Convention. Proceeds from the Army Ten-Miler go to the Army FMWR.