By Staff Sgt. Megan GarciaJanuary 23, 2012
Their objectives are set and their ambitions are thriving for The Old Guard competitors of this year's Best Ranger Competition; this time it's all or nothing.
"Last year, our goals were to finish and hopefully have a good placement," said Staff Sgt. Sean McAlpine, infantryman, Delta Company, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). "This year, a placement is just not going to be able to satisfy us now. We want to win."
The team will make its fourth appearance at the competition, April 13-16, in Fort Benning, Ga. Despite the grueling physical and mental requirements of the competition, McAlpine and his teammates are confident they are doing everything they can to prepare.
"This is largely the focus of what we're coming to work to do," said Cpt. Eric Hanft, Delta Company platoon leader. "Six days a week, it's all programmed out. This unit has a very deliberate approach to make the team successful."
Agreeing with Hanft, McAlpine said the team began assessments and training preparation in October 2011.
"We've been doing strength workouts in the gym. We've done bench, pull ups, push-ups, squats, dead lifts, dips. You name it, we've been doing it," said McAlpine.
Outside of the gym, the team runs extensively; running anywhere from four to 10 miles a day. Although strenuous to some, McAlpine sees this process as a mere stepping stone to the finish line.
" This is an endurance competition for 60 hours straight, so in order to meet the requirements of being able to complete a 60 hour competition that's not only physically but mentally challenging, you have to challenge your body during the train-up and almost surpass what the competition is going to be," said McAlpine.
McAlpine knows his team must focus on more than just the physical aspects of the competition and remains optimistic of what's in store.
"When it comes down to it, it's a big guessing game what they're going to be putting into it," said McAlpine. "We learned a lot from our mistakes we made last year. It's just better to be proficient at everything."