ROTC cadets hope to defend championship

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A group of BYU ROTC cadets have trained for several months in hopes of defending their championship in the annual Ranger Challenge this weekend.

According to the BYU ROTC, the Ranger Challenge is the Army ROTC’s varsity sport and contains a series of challenging events including land navigation, obstacle courses and a 10-kilometer forced road march. Annually, this challenge has around 300 teams from universities nationwide. The BYU ROTC competes with 22 other teams from the western United States.

BYU cadets will participate in the Ranger Challenge in Colorado this weekend. Each team must have from eight to 10 cadets, including two females. The BYU Ranger Challenge team holds the record at this competition. The team won 27  of 29 times.

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BYU ROTC cadets traverse dangerous waters in last year’s Rangers Challenge.

To prepare for this challenge and keep the record, the BYU Ranger Challenge team has to practice on an intense schedule. The team has training Monday to Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m and an additional lab on Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“I wake up at 4:50 a.m. so I can be here at 5:30 a.m.,” said cadet Shauna Butt, a junior studying geography.

Butt said the team does many types of daily practices, from 6-mile runs to upper body core workouts to ruck marching. In ruck marching, each cadet has to carry extra weight while running. Female cadets have to carry at least 15 pounds and male cadets have to carry 35 pounds in their military backpack and run for three miles.

She said the most difficult challenge is sticking with the training.

“There’s a lot of enduring works and you have to get your mind in the right place,” she said.

Cadet Anna Savage, a sophomore studying linguistics, was on the champion team last year.

“We did really well,” Savage said. “We were really fast and we worked well as a team.”

Savage said even though the BYU Ranger Challenge team won last year’s competition, they still need to work and improve in many ways.

“[I feel] a lot of pressures, ” she said. “But I feel like a lot of that is more on the team captain.”

Among the team members, some of the cadets will run as alternates in the competition, which means they will help test other cadets throughout the challenge events.

Cadet Andrew McKee has been the alternate on the BYU Ranger Challenge team since last year. He said balancing the time between school, social life and training is a challenge. But the cadets learn valuable knowledge and get hands-on experiences throughout the Ranger Challenge training.

“I had the opportunity running with a championship team,” McKee said. “And not many people in the world are able to say that.”

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