Cadets complete despite shutdown
Kelsea Renz | mng editor
The recent government shutdown forced the cancellation of the Ranger Challenge, intended to be Saturday, Oct. 26. But the event was held anyway in a modified form that cadets say caused confusion and stress.
“Everyone was pretty upset because it wasn’t really a competition,” said Shannon Ahlstedt, junior in marketing. “It was done at home and we had to rely on the integrity of all the other schools.”
The cadets competed in three events – PT test, land navigation and patrol written test, and a 10-mile ruck march – although they had trained for months in other events that they did not get to do.
“It was almost harder because we were not looking at the competition,” said Kelli Gibson, sophomore in nursing. “We’re more competitive if we can see how the other teams are doing.”
The cadets competed as part of three teams: female, male alpha and male bravo. The female team placed second overall, the male alpha team took third, and the male bravo team made sixth.
“Our team had a lot of heart going into it,” said Brian McGill, bravo team captain and junior in justice studies. “The shutdown affected our training, but we worked hard.”
The Ranger Challenge was supposed to be different, even without the government shutting down.
“We had always gone to Iowa and done pretty consistently,” said Keith Weaver, alpha team captain and senior in justice studies. “The cadre wanted to give us a change of pace and see a different set of competitors and how we’d do against them.”
When the government shut down, the cadets lost pay, resources needed for training and training time.
“It affected our resources and everything needed to put the competition on,” Weaver said. “It was not what we wanted or hoped for, but we took what we had and made the best of it.”
The cadets trained Monday through Friday each week, preparing for the events, usually held at the traditional Ranger Challenge, and, the week before the modified version, trained for the three modified events.
“Other teams had been training longer and harder than us,” Ahlstedt said. “We had a lot of confusion with our teams and the standards for the Challenge.”
The government shutdown changed the Ranger Challenge, but did not hinder the work ethic of the cadets.
“We trained just as hard even though without all our resources,” Weaver said. “We used the situation to better ourselves and better our team.”
Had the teams placed first, it would have moved on to Brigade in Wisconsin and competed against other first-place teams across the nation.
“If we had held the traditional event, we could have come out on top,” Weaver said. “We were competitors. I knew we would be; we always are.”