Cadets rise to the challenge
Will Ravenstein | Collegio Reporter
Pittsburg State University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) entered its 60th year at PSU with its annual trip to Camp Dodge, Iowa, to compete in the Ranger Challenge, held on Saturday, Oct. 6.
This year, though, there is a different sound coming from the Gorilla Battalion. It is the sound of the first all-female team led by Cadet Kristina Willis. Members include cadets Riley Campbell, sophomore in justice studies; Kelli Gibson, freshman in nursing; Kada Barbour, junior in justice studies, and Lexi Skaggs, sophomore in communication.
Cadet Willis described the challenge ahead of them.
“The hardest task ahead will be making it through land navigation without morale dropping,” said Willis, junior in international studies. “No athlete on campus can say they competed in a 30-hour competition on only six or seven hours sleep.”
The Ranger Challenge consists of many events that test the cadets physically and mentally. The day starts with an Army physical fitness test that consists of three events: two-minute timed pushup and sit-up events, and a 2-mile run. After about an hour to regroup, the cadets started a land navigation course, which required the teams to maneuver around Camp Dodge’s train
ing area to 20 designated points. At six of the 20 points, the cadets had to accomplish tasks working as a team.
One event, called the Crucible, consisted of six tasks that tested the cadets’ strength and stamina. The first stage was a water-can carry. Each team was required to carry 30-pound water cans to a turnaround spot, then return them to the starting line. Upon returning to the starting line, the cadets sprinted to the second stage, which was a weapon-crate carry. That was followed by a tire roll and flip station. Here the cadets had to roll a large tire weighing about 100 pounds to a turnaround spot. On the return, they had to flip the tire end-over-end to the starting point.
From there, they sprinted to a map reading test, and after identifying two points, they ran to the final test. They confronted a crawl-through-wires phase, where the cadets had to maneuver through 30 feet of wire alternating between a high crawl on knees and elbows, and a low crawl. Then they sprinted about 100 feet to the finish. In all, the event covered about 600 feet, with most teams finishing in less than 13 minutes.
Cadet Cord Stanley described the training this semester as challenging.
“We trained by doing tough and hardcore events,” said Stanley, senior in history. “One Saturday we took a physical fitness test, followed by a seven-mile rucksack march, a buddy carry and finished with a 400-meter, about 1,200 feet, sprint.”
The PSU teams placed well in the competition. The female team placed second overall out of seven teams, with four team awards in the 10 events. The two male teams placed in the top half of the competition, placing fourth and ninth. PSU did better than the other Kansas teams from KU and K-State.
Lt. Col. Christopher Lambert, chair of the department of military science, says he is proud of the teams. PSU went head-to-head against 13 colleges and universities from the Midwest, which fielded a total of 27 teams.
“Outstanding effort by all,” Lambert said. “We’re coming to get them next year.”