U of L cadets excel at Knox’s Ranger Challenge

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By The Staff


Univerity of Louisville ROTC

After 10 weeks of training five days a week, the University of Louisville Cardinal Battalion Ranger Challenge team successfully defended its title at the recent seventhy annual BDE Ranger Challenge Competition at Fort Knox.

Forty-eight schools competed from Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio.

The Cardinals Ranger Challenge team came in first for the second consecutive year, outperforming the big names such as Ohio State, Notre Dame, and the University of Tennessee.

The Cardinal Battalion also fielded an all-female Ranger Challenge team for the first time, and the “Pink Lady Rangers” came in third in the woman’s division. The men’s and women’s teams were respectively led by seniors Jordan Shontz and Paige Young, and were coached by Sgt. 1st Class Glenn East and 2nd Lt. Matthew Swartling.

The grueling, 22-hour competition began at 4:15 a.m. on Saturday and concluded at 2 a.m. Sunday. Cadets competed in nine events throughout the day, beginning with the Army Physical Fitness Test. The UofL men’s team had an average APFT score of 313, food for third place, while the women’s team finished fourth in its division with an average score of 286.

Cadet Charlie Hahne had the high score for the males with a 324, while Cadet Annie Davis scored the highest among the females with 295.

Other events included basic rifle marksmanship, weapons assembly and disassembly, the Hand Grenade Assault Course, one-rope bridge, orienteering an obstacle course, terrain feature identification, and a 10K ruck march.

The Ranger Challenge team particularly excelled in the one-rope bridge, with the men’s team coming in first place with a far-side time of 2:11, and the women’s team coming in second in its division with 5:30 (a time that beat more than half of the male teams). Junior Nicole Thomas said that the event was the highlight of the competition.

The last event in the competition was the 10K (6.2 miles) ruck march with a 35-pound rucksack, LBE, ACH, and weapons, which equated to a full-on race.

The men’s team came in fourth with a time of 1:03, and the womens team also came in fourth in its division.

Junior Annie Davis said that “The road march was the hardest part of the competition for me. The course at Fort Knox is very hilly, and we didn’t think we were going to make it. But we came in together and we finished strong, and as a team.”

The men’s team was composed of seniors Jordan Shontz (team captain), Colin Davis, Tommy Vollmar, Cadet Battalion Commander Galo Naranjo, juniors Eliha Hoagland and Samuel Edwards, and sophomores Charlie Hahne and Ryan Speight.

The Pink Lady Rangers were captained by senior Paige Young, and consisted of senior Amanda Cooper, juniors Nicole Thomas and Annie Davis, sophomore Shez Hardin, and freshmen Jacqueline Pence, Megan Smith, Carly Townsend, and MacKenzie Stephens.