ROTC cadets take on challenge

Some students wonder how it is that ROTC cadets can push themselves to get up and work out early in the morning, and extra every day, to maintain that high standard of physical fitness. However, some ROTC cadets wonder how they can push themselves further. Those cadets usually try out for Ranger Challenge, Army ROTC’s “varsity sport.”

Held at Camp Smith, N.Y., the Ranger Challenge Competition is an annual event that brings together ROTC programs from 41 different schools across 10 Northeastern states in a weekend-long, head-to-head battle to be the best.  The “Pride of PA” team begins training during the spring semester and intensifies its preparations at the start of the fall term. During fall training, cadets begin competing amongst their peers to make the ambitious 10-man team.

This year, the “Pride of PA” Battalion team was led by Mercyhurst senior Steve Marrocco. Kayla Amsler, a junior physician assistant major, was Gannon’s contribution to the team. This is Amsler’s third year on the Ranger Challenge team. The team also included eight other cadets from the Mercyhurst Company — Lindsey Bostwick, Tom Diehl, Danny Graham, Adam King, Cameron Kunkel, Eric Pelosi, Pat Wallenhorst and Mark Woodel — as well as Cadet Tyler Payne from Penn State Behrend.

The Ranger Challenge Competition consists of 10 events: Army Physical Fitness Test, Engagement Skills Trainer (EST 2000), Urban Operations, Leader’s Reaction Course, Improvised Explosive Device Lane, One-Rope Bridge, Land Navigation, Grenade Assault Course, weapons assembly, written exam on tactics, and the  10K ruck march (in full combat gear). These events are performed back-to-back and the team is timed as it moves through them.

This year, the Pride of PA team took first place in their division in the 10K ruck march, second place in division for Land Navigation, and first place in their division for completing all 10 events in the fastest time.


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