By Mike Strasser, West Point Public AffairsOctober 20, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Oct. 20, 2011) -- Some teams crossed the finish line arms linked or hands grasping shoulders for support, as they savored the end of the first-ever Stud Mudder Oct. 15.
The Stud Mudder was the Fourth Regiment's version of the popular tough mudder competition that drenches athletes in pools of mud throughout a long-distance course over various obstacles.
The event was held at Camp Buckner and included a plunge into Lake Popolopen followed by a low crawl through the sand. To ward off the morning chill, teams of cadets continued on an exhausting three-mile run through the Anzio Obstacle Course, the Marne Confidence Course (dry course) and the Leader Reaction Course, to complete a total of about 21 obstacles.
While summer training often incorporates these courses, this was the first time all three were used for one regimental training event. Class of 2012 Cadet Natalia Gruenbaum, the 4th Regiment executive officer, said to promote esprit de corps, teams had the option to wear unique items--everything from headbands and crowns to costumes. Some cadets, already training up for Sandhurst, wore full "battle rattle" in preparation for the military skills competition next semester. Like Sandhurst, the Stud Mudder required cadets to stay together and help each other through every obstacle before moving on to the next.
Class of 2012 Cadet Angela Smith, the 4th Regiment commander, said the intent of the Stud Mudder was to provide cadets a physical challenge that incorporated unit cohesion and camaraderie to succeed.
"We wanted to create something similar to a tough mudder event, which many cadets have paid a lot of money and traveled long distances to compete in," Smith said. "We thought if we could create a similar experience, people would really catch onto that."
Each regiment has the opportunity during the academic year to create a training event which can combine physical fitness, academics and health and welfare.
"This has it all--you've got Warrior Ethos, camaraderie and we tried to make it fun too. Ultimately, we wanted to focus on physical fitness," Smith said.
The three battalions of the regiment planned and operated each site, and Smith said they deserved much of the credit for executing the event. At the dock site, the cadet-in-charge, Class of 2012 Cadet Grant Ward, did more than just oversee each team low crawl out of the water ... he joined them.
"The site itself is pretty simple. First you get them wet and then you get them sandy," Ward, who took the dive more than a dozen times, said. "I wanted to join in because that's what leaders do. If they see you doing it, even if you don't have to, they get more into it."
At the end of the day, Class of 2012 Cadet Teddy MacDonald thought his team performed well, considering they passed two other teams that started several minutes before them.
"We had great camaraderie and everyone was pushing each other," Company E's 8th Team leader, said. "Everybody gave their all."
Awards were presented to teams Wednesday morning, to include Best Dressed Team, Muddiest Team and Fastest Overall Team, an accolade that went to the Company F-4 team with a time of 34:35.