W&M cadets place third in Ranger Challenge Competition

ROTC cadets from the College of William and Mary placed third in a competition last weekend geared toward preparing them for what it takes to be part of one of the Army’s most elite force.Photo: ROTC Cadets from the College of William and Mary and Christopher Newport University place third in annual Ranger Challenger Competition.

The team, consisting of both William and Mary and Christopher Newport University students, competed against dozens of teams from colleges and universities in Virginian and North Carolina to compete in the Eastern Region (ROTC) 4th Brigade’s Ranger Challenge at Fort Pickett, Va. Virginia Military Institute and East Carolina University finished first and second, respectively.

The annual event began Oct. 27, 2006 and featured the best and most fit cadets of 19 schools who compete in a series of events – the Army physical fitness test, basic rifle marksmanship, construction and execution of a one-rope bridge, patrolling, weapons assembly, orienteering, hand grenade assault course and a 10-kilometer road march. Last year, the team from William and Mary finished in eighth place among 30 teams.

The team competed in a grueling 18-hour team competition. Cadets train for weeks to be selected for the Ranger Challenge team, and then they train for weeks more to prepare for the actual competition. The focus of the event is not so much about individual performance as it is about team success, organizers said. The idea behind the event is to foster camaraderie and test individuals’ leadership abilities. Team scores for most events are the average of individual performances; other events are based solely on group times.