Two CSU Army ROTC battalion teams, dubbed the Ram Battalion, placed first and second at the annual “Rocky Mountain Ranger Challenge” held Saturday and Sunday at Camp Guernsey, Wyo.
The Alpha-team and Bravo-team finished the two-day event with the top two ranks from a field of 11, including teams from University of Colorado and the University of Wyoming.
“It’s not a normal thing for a ‘Bravo team’ to be placing second,” junior health and exercise major and cadet Todd Hunsicker said.
Senior liberal arts major and cadet Rick Smith said before this year’s competition, the battalion placed just once since 1999, finishing first in 2006.
“Compared to how we did last year, it’s very exciting,” sophomore history major and Bravo-team leader Christopher Rutherford said.
Hunsicker said ranger competitions physically and mentally stretch participants more than sports.
“It’s not mental or physical, but it’s everything,” Hunsicker said. “In regular sports you get pampered.”
“Not to push down any other collegiate athletes, but there’s really no time to rest,” Rutherford said.
The challenge consisted of eight competitions to test cadet’s physical fitness and mental awareness: the Army Physical Fitness test, land navigation/orienteering, patrolling, ruck march, one rope bridge, grenade assault course, basic rifle marksmanship and weapons assembly/disassembly.
Both teams trained six days a week for anywhere between an hour to two hours each morning. Initially, Rutherford said, the training was pretty rigorous to perhaps weed out any non-committed cadets.
“We started with 30 people, roughly, and that was whittled down to about 18 or 19 people,” Hunsicker said. “And from that the two teams of nine were picked.”
“We had separate practices, and we’d do our own things at every practice,” he said.
Hunsicker and Rutherford said that both teams had a friendly competition between each other, especially toward the end of training.
“You’d hear little tidbits about how good each team’s doing,” Hunsicker said. “It turns out some of them were true and some of them were (false).”
Both teams, Hunsicker said, performed admirably despite adverse weather conditions.
“You’re freezing,” Hunsicker said. “You’re just like, ‘Am I going to be able to perform?'”
Assistant News Editor Johnny Hart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.