Ranger challenge team to compete in Fort Knox

Caitlyn Wachovec

Cadets to face grueling tasks, aim for top 10 finish

Two months of 6 a.m. practices and countless hours of training for the Kent State Army ROTC Ranger Challenge team will pay off this Saturday in Fort Knox, Ky.

The Ranger Challenge team will compete in eight events against about 30 other schools from Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“This is the varsity sport of ROTC,” 2nd Lt. Jesse Grimm said.

Grimm, a Kent State graduate, competed with the team all four years he was in Army ROTC.

Out of the 18 cadets who tried out this year, nine and one alternate will compete. The team is open to cadets in every year at ROTC.

Sgt. 1st Class Rick Hanson said this year the team includes two freshman and three females including Ashley White, who Hanson said has the highest physical fitness test score he’s seen. This is Hanson’s first year coaching the Ranger Challenge team.

The Ranger Challenge team and various other ROTC officers will travel to Fort Knox on Friday to get ready for their long and eventful day.

The daylong event includes the Army physical fitness test, basic rifle marksmanship, a hand grenade assault course, the one-rope bridge, orienteering, patrolling and weapon assembly and disassembly. All teams will then complete the 10 kilometer forced road march.

All nine members of each team compete in every event and they are scored based on the amount of time it takes to complete each event.

The events test cadets’ physical and mental capabilities, as well as leadership and technical skills. The physically draining day can have an adverse effect on cadets.

“My freshman year, I about passed out from dehydration,” Grimm said.

Though the cadets face such grueling tasks every year, most of them keep coming back for more. Cadet David McDevitt, along with Grimm, have participated in more than one ranger challenge. He competed in a ranger challenge with teams consisting of only two cadets.

“The Two-man challenge is more fun,” McDevitt said.

Kent State finished 12th out of 30 last year, and Hanson said they are hoping to place in the top ten this year.

“l think top ten would be successful,” Hanson said.

Contact ROTC reporter Caitlyn Wachovec at [email protected].