Air Force ROTC wins trophy from the U

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The snow came down and the points went up as BYU’s Air Force ROTC program won this year’s annual Tri-Detachment competition, bringing the trophy home from the University of Utah.

On March 21, Air Force cadets from the University of Utah and Utah State University came to BYU to compete in the annual Tri-Detachment competition. BYU won with a score of 25, Utah State was second with 18 points and the University of Utah came in last with 15 points. BYU has taken the trophy 9 out of 10 years.

BYU Air Force cadets Jesse Lanham (left) and Dallin Gray (right)  hefting a tire during the obstacle course. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Renae Saylock/Released)
BYU Air Force cadets Jesse Lanham (left) and Dallin Gray (right) hefting a tire during the obstacle course. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Renae Saylock/Released)

The competition began with tests of military history and duty, marching skills and uniform inspections. The competition then moved to physical fitness tests such as running, sit-ups and push-ups. An obstacle course included challenging events such as throwing tires, carrying large cans of sand and swinging on monkey bars.

Senior Eric Dayhuff, cadet wing commander at BYU, oversees all Air Force ROTC programs for the semester. Dayhuff said it was heartbreaking to lose the trophy last year but that the cadets were determined to win it back this year.

“We came with the attitude that we were hungry,” Dayhuff said. “We wanted to win.”

Dayhuff spent the day overseeing events and following up with some of the younger cadets.

“There’s a number of cadets out there that I’ve been mentoring,” Dayhuff said. “It’s really fun to just watch them succeed. For me it’s kind of like it’s my own payday, even though I’m not participating. It’s payday for me to see them succeed.”

Junior David Gourdin was in charge of organizing the competition and could be seen energetically cheering on his teammates throughout the competition. The competition was intense, with cadets at both Utah State University and The University of Utah pushing BYU’s cadets to work hard.

“They had some pretty fast cadets at the University of Utah and Utah State,” Gourdin said.

As the snow continued to fall some events had to be cancelled, but the contestants still played flag football. Freshman Andrew Cunningham played on the football team for the event.

Cadet Jesse Lanham runs with containers full of sand as part of the obstacle course. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Renae Saylock/Released)
Cadet Jesse Lanham runs with containers full of sand as part of the obstacle course. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Renae Saylock/Released)

“I got to play on the football team, and I am really excited about that,” Cunningham said. “Football in the snow is a blast.”

The competition ended with all participants in good spirits. The competition is fun, but the purpose of the event was to build camaraderie among the schools.

“So this competition is a great tradition; it’s (a) great heritage,” Dayhuff said. “It’s a really good way to get your underclassmen involved in something bigger than just our school. But at the end of the day, we are first and foremost Air Force officers.”

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